From the makers of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' comes 'Empire's Children' -- a tie-in edition to a six part TV series for Channel 4 -- which tells the story of Empire, and follows the personal journeys of six British celebrities as they retrace their steps through their multicultural past. British society is in every way defined by its Imperial past. It is home to 2.3 million British Asians, 570,000 Caribbeans and 250,000 Chinese. Not to mention Cypriots, Australians and southern Africans. These people represent different cultures and divergent experiences but they all share a common heritage: they are the children (grandchildren, or great grandchildren) of Empire; and their lives have been shaped by that legacy. In the second part of the 20th century, Britain relinquished control of 64 countries and half a billion subjects. During that period, many thousands of those same former British subjects fled their homes to build new lives here. What were they hoping to find? Why did they want to come to the very country they'd fought so hard to free themselves from? What kinds of lives were they leaving behind? What was the reality of their new life here?
And how was British society itself shaped by their arrival and assimilation here? Real concerns that are very much in forefront of our minds in the multicultural melting pot that Britain is today. 'Empire's Children' seeks to answer these questions by concentrating on the personal and emotive journeys of six chosen celebrities as they retrace the steps which they -- or their parents or grandparents -- took in order to reach this country for the first time. The stories will cover post colonial histories of Africa, the subcontinent, the West Indies, Australasia, South East Asia and Cyprus. In some cases, they will spend some time in the former colony and experience the motivations as well as the drama of the journey itself.
By Anton Gill