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Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen to follow up Small Axe with Uprising

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

Acclaimed British filmmaker and artist Steven McQueen will re-team with the BBC for a new three-part documentary entitled Uprising.

The new series will focus on three major events in 1981 which defined race relations for a generation: the January 1981 New Cross Fire which killed 13 black teenagers; the Black People's Day of Action two months later in March, 20,000 people joined the first organised mass protest by Black British people; and the Brixton riots in April. Events that formed the backdrop to the fourth installment of the Small Axe anthology series, 'Alex Wheatle'.

The documentary will reveal how these three events intertwined in 1981 and will be directed by Steve McQueen and James Rogan.

McQueen is committed to bringing Black British history to the screen and is also producing two follow-up documentaries that further expand on the series. Black Power: A British Story of Resistance and Subnormal will be directed by two up-and-coming Black British directors - BAFTA winner George Amponsah and Lyttanya Shannon.

Small Axe has been nominated for a slew of awards including six BAFTA awards.

Steve McQueen, Director and Executive Producer, says:

“It is an honour to make these films with testimonials from the survivors, investigators, activists and representatives of the machinery of state. We can only learn if we look at things through the eyes of everyone concerned; the New Cross Fire passed into history as a tragic footnote, but that event and its aftermath can now be seen as momentous events in our nation’s history.”

“It has been an honour to work with Steve McQueen to bring these powerful stories to BBC One,” added the BBC1 chief content officer Charlotte Moore, who commissioned the series. “With his visionary genius as a filmmaker he has created an incredibly important and evocative series that charts events that have defined race relations in Britain today, giving a voice to the people at the heart of these stories.”


Photo credit: By Ross from hamilton on, Canada - Steve McQueen Q&A, CC BY 2.0,


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