Black British movies & series of all time

BBE has always had roots in amplifying Black British voices/talent via our live podcasting events. Lockdown affected us in a way that we couldn’t curate our live podcast events but that didn’t stop us. We used lockdown as a way of working on different campaigns that educate people on the charitable and philanthropist work Black Brits (both male and female) are doing to uplift the uplift the future generation.

Claudia Jones: creator of the Notting Hill carnival https://bbeldn.co.uk/claudiajones-motherofthecarnival

Celebrating Our Menhttps://bbeldn.co.uk/mens-week-celebrating-our-men

2020 IWD/Women’s History Month  – https://www.bbeldn.co.uk/womens-history-month-nominees

Why is Black History Month celebrated in October in the UK?

Black History Month is celebrated in the month of October in the UK (it’s celebrated in February in America) because according to Akyaaba Addai-Sebo (the creator of BHM in the UK), October is when African chiefs and leaders gather to settle their differences, so Akyaaba chose this month to reconnect with African roots. Many thought that since it was the beginning of the new academic year, October would give Black children of African/Caribbean descent sense of pride and identity.

#BHM 2020

Representation in media is very important to us at BBE because we recognise that more needs to be done to amplify Black British talent and voices because our stories are usually drowned in the American narratives of the Black experience. While many have looked up to our African Americans counterparts for inspiration, we felt it was time to shine light on movies, TV shows and series that have authentically told our stories and shaped our experiences as Black Brits.

We collated a list of movies and shows mainly starring, produced/directed by Black British creatives right from the 1960s to 2020 in all genres: from comedy, romance, crime and drama. Below is our take on premium entertainment from Black British actors who have shaped and inspired a generation.

We present to you Black British movies and series of all time.

The Kidulthood movie series is a very entertaining, highly polished London crime movie which kickstarted the British hood film movement. Directed by Noel Clarke, the series follows the lives of Black British teenagers growing up on council estates in this powerful British movie that captures its London setting representing inner city youth culture.

Directed by: Noel Clarke

Watch on Dailymotion

BAFTA nominated Channel 4 show The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan features comedy, sketches, music, celebrity guests and audience interaction.

Hosted by: Mo the Comedian

Watch on Youtube

Super sharp comedy sketch show starring an all Black British cast and well-known for challenging stereotypes and confronting issues with humour, Famalam shines a comedic light on everything. Meet the Nigerian prince no-one emails back, discover Nollywood’s ‘finest’, misunderstood superhero, Croydon’s leading witch-doctor and more.

Starring: Tom Moutchi, Samson Kayo, Gbemisola Ikumelo, John MacMillan, Tom Moutchi, Vivienne Acheampong and Roxy Sternberg.

Watch on BBC Iplayer

Written, co-directed, and executive produced by Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You is a British comedy-drama television series set in London. Coel stars as Arabella, a young woman who seeks to rebuild her life after being raped.

Starring: Michaela Cole, Weruche Opia, Paapa Essiedu, Aml Ameen, Tyler Luke Cunningham, Andi Osho and more.

Watch on BBC or HBO

BAFTA nominated show The Big Narstie Show is a British chat show, presented by rapper and legend Big Narstie and comedian Mo Gilligan. The duo are joined by celebrities as they present original segments on weekly news, TV, showbiz, trends and more. Big Narstie the grime scene and has been cited as one of the original purveyors in the grime comedy genre.

Starring: Big Narstie and Mo the Comedian

Watch on Channel 4

Never have we seen a story about a Black British girl in this light. #set in East London, Rocks (2020) is an authentic, coming of age movie about a teenage girl abandoned by her mother forcing Rocks (played by Bukky) to deal with the struggles of taking care of herself and her younger brother with the support of her best friend and others.

Starring: Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, Shola Adewusi, Aml Ameen, Tyler Luke Cunningham, Andi Osho and more.

Watch the movie on Netflix

Based on true story, Farming follows a young Nigerian boy, `farmed out’ by his parents to a white British family in the hope of a better future, instead becomes the feared leader of a white skinhead gang. It’s a movie about battling the odds to love oneself in a world of hate.

Starring: Idris Damson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbale, Gugu Mbathu-Raw and Genevieve Nnaji

Watch on Amazon Prime

Like the Kidulthood trilogy, Top Boy is a British crime drama which takes viewers into the housing estates of East London. It’s characterised as a crime ridden area with tension between the drug gangs and those who strive to live honest lives against the odds. That tension is explored through the interlocking stories of the residents of Summerhouse estate and drug dealer Dushane, who is determined to become the area’s Top Boy.

Stars: Ashley Walters, Kano (Kane Robinson), Malcolm Kamulete, Shome Romulus, Nicholas Pinnock, Michael Ward, Dave, Arnold Ocheng, Letitia White, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Little Simz, Keiyon Cook, Bashy, Hope Ikpoku, and more.

Watch the series on Netflix

Created by Michaela Coel, the BAFTA award winning British comedy Chewing Gum follows Tracey (played by Coel), a 24-year-old virgin living in a London and the mishaps of her neighbourhood, friends and family, and of course, her boyfriend.

Stars: Michaela Cole, Susie Wokoma, Kadiff Kirwan, Danielle Isaie, John MacMillan and more.

Watch the series on Netflix

Written by and starring comedic actor Kayode Ewumi, Enterprice is a comedy show which follows 2 childhood friends Kazim and Jeremiah who grew up in London and are venturing into business together as they roll out their new home delivery service ‘Speedy Kazz’. Jeremiah’s got the brains, Kasim (Kaz) is the big dreamer – together they’re pushing to escape the hustle but their friendship is tested along the way.

Stars: Kayode Ewumi, Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge, Joan Iyiola, Dammy Ladipo, Roger Griffin and more.

Watch the series on BBCIplayer

Directed by BAFTA nominated director Rapman, Blue Story is a British crime movie which tells the story of two close who become violent rivals after an accidental killing in what is known as Postcode wars.

Starring: Michael Ward, Stephen Odubola, Karla Simone-Spence, Kadeem Ramsay, Richie Campbell, Jo Martin, Khali Best, Duane Boachi and more.

Watch the movie on Amazon Prime

John Boyega’s career was kickstarted after his depiction of the last days of Shakilus Townsend’s life before his murder in 2011. My Murder is a British crime movie which tells the unfortunate true story of the honey trap killing of innocent teenager Shakilus Townsend by Samantha Joseph and her then boyfriend Danny McLean including his friends Michael Akinfenwa.

Starring: John Boyega, Malachi Kirby, Franz Dameh, Simona Zivkovska

Watch the full movie on Dailymotion

Multiple award winning series Brothers With No Game is a British comedy-drama web and TV series about four friends who deconstruct, discuss and deliberate thoughts and topics on the responsibilities and dilemmas related to work and women.

Starring: Jay Marsh, Zephryn Taitte, Isaac Sosanya, Ashley Bannerman, Isaac Sosanya and more.

Watch the series on Brotherswithnogame.com

In The Rap Game UK Grime rappers Krept and Konan and DJ Target pit seven unsigned MCs in weekly head to head battles, and the winner has the chance to be signed to Krept and Konan’s record label.

Hosted by: Krept & Konan and DJ Target

Available on BBC Iplayer

Meet the Adebanjos is a family based Black British comedy sitcom centered on a Nigerian-British family ‘the Adebanjos’ living in Peckham. The comedy shows the typical ups and downs of family life and clashes between old school traditional Nigerian culture father Bayo tries to instill in his British family.

Starring: Wale Ojo, Yetunde Oduwole, Andrea Aboagye, Daniel Davids, Moji Bamtefa and Tolu Ogunmefun

Created by: Debra Odutuyo and Andrew Osayemi.

Watch on Netflix

Shiro’s Story is a three-part British crime drama YouTube series about Shiro whose world is turned upside down when he gets involved in drug dealing and violence, whilst coping with the news that his best friend is the biological father of the daughter he thought was his. 

Starring: 2/3 Mandem on the Wall stars: Joivan Wade & Percelle Ascot. Also Ashley Walters, Deno Driz, Cadet, Rita Bernard-Shaw and more.

Created and directed by: Rapman

Watch the series on Youtube

Venus vs Mars was the first UK television show ever made entirely by a Black cast, writer and production team. The show is a romantic comedy-drama series about one young woman’s quest to find true love. Along the way she encounters problems in the form of her ex-boyfriend, old flames, new crushes and double dates.

Starring: Letitia Hector, Jamie Charles, Jean Louis Pascal, Aaron Fontaine, Yashi Woodburn and more.

Watch the series on Mad News

The groundbreaking comedy sketch show The Real McCoy brought the authentic Black British perspective to TV, packed with guest stars, music and razor-sharp comedy which address racially charged issues.

Starring: Curtis Walker, Felix Dexter, Eddie Nestor, Llewella Gideon, Robbie Gee, Judith Jacob.

Available to watch on BBC Iplayer

Much like Rocks, Some Girls is a feel good comedy following the lives and loves of a group of quirky 16-year-old high school friends who live within the same south London estate.

Starring: Adelayo Adedayo, Franz Dameh, Nathan Bryon, Colin Salmon.

Watch the series on Dailymotion

Gone Too Far is a hilariously true to life movie that sees two estranged teenage (a British born Yemi and Nigerian born Iku) brothers over the course of a single day as they meet for the first time, and struggle to accept each other for who they are.

Starring: Malachi Kirby, Adelayo Adedayo, Shanika Warren-Markland, OC Ukeje, Tosin Cole, Ashley Chin, Michael Maris, Eddie Kadi

Available to watch on Netflix

Second Coming follows a tight family unit navigating their way through family life as it breaks down in the aftermath of an unexplained pregnancy.

Starring: Idris Elba, Nadine Marshall, Kai Francis Lewis, Sharlene Whyte, Llewella, Larrington Walker, Bailey Patrick, Gershwyn Eustace Jr.

Directed by: Debbie Tucker Green

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

No Shade looks at issues surrounding preferences in dating and colourism: prejudice against darker-skinned people within the same ethnic group, in this case Londoners of African descent.

Starring: Clare Anyiam-Osigwe, Adele Oni, Kadeem Pearse, Shom Romulus, Judith Jacob, Sharea Samuels, Zephryn Taitte, Tenisha White.

Directed by: Clare Anyiam-Osigwe

Watch the movie on Amazon Prime

Bulletproof stars Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke as best friends and detectives Bishop and Pike fighting crime together on the streets of East London.  Their deviating approach to life has been shaping an almost unbreakable bond between the two men: until their friendship is put to the test.

Starring: Noel Clarke, Ashley Walters, Lashawna Lynch, Clarke Peters and more.

Available to watch on Sky Catchup

Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook was a British cooking show featuring a cookery challenge in which hapless amateur cooks are helped in the creation of delicious meals. It became the first show hosted by a Black British high end chef.

Hosted by: Ainsley Harriott.

Watch the show on Youtube

BAFTA nominated comedy show Timewasters see a struggling group of a Black South London jazz band who find themselves transported back in time to the 1920s via a urine-soaked block of flats. They must navigate the strange society of the Jazz Age as they try to find a way home.

Starring: Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Samson Kayo, Adelayo Adedayo, Kadiff Kirwan and more.

Created by: Daniel Lawrence Taylor

Available to watch on ITV HUB

Produced by award winning Marvel actor and British heartthrob Idris Elba, In the Long Run is a comedy drama depicting the story of an Immigrant family making it’s way in Britain during the 1980s.

Starring: Idris Elba, Madeline Appiah, Jimmy Akingbola, Sammy Kamara, Deno Driz, Jude Akuwudike, Kadeem Ramsay and more.

Available for catchup on Sky

Circle of Revenge is a true depiction of gritty South London in early 2003 telling the story of two rival gangs who get caught up in a vicious cycle of revenge.

Starring: Derrion Adams, Darren Baba, Lawrence Brown

Watch the full movie on Youtube

No Problem! was the first Black made sitcom created for British TV. It was also the first British produced sitcom on Channel 4. It was set in a council house in focused on a Jamaican family living in Willesden, north London.

Starring: Judith Jacob, Janet Kay, Angela Wynter

Watch the show on Youtube

Award winning comedy sketch show The Lenny Henry Show stars British comedy legend Lenny Henry performing various comedic sketches.

Starring: Lenny Henry, Vas Blackwood, Ellen Thomas, Nimmy March and more.

Available to watch on Youtube

Desmond’s is a classic British sitcom about a Guyanese born migrant Desmond Ambrose who runs a barbershop in Peckham: one which becomes the hub of the community’s social scene.

Starring: Norman Beaton, Ram John Holder, Carmen Monroe, Robbie Gee, Justin Pickett, Geff Francis and more.

Catch up on Channel 4

Mandem on the Wall is a comedy webseries about three young SouthLondon men sitting on a wall, flirting with passing girls, and “talkingbullshit”.

Created by and starring: Joivan Wade, Percelle Ascott and Dee Kaate.

Available to watch on Youtube

3 Non-Blondes is a British hidden comedy prank show which sees Tameka Empson, Jocelyn Jee Esien and Ninia Benjamin hitting the streets of Britain with hidden cameras casting members of the public as players in part-scripted, part-improvised skits.

Created by and starring: Tameka Empson, Jocelyn Jee Esien, and Ninia Benjamin.

Available to watch on Youtube

Yardie became Idris Elba’s directional debut as film director. The movie is British crime action story is set in 70s Kingston (Jamaica) and 80s Hackney (East London) and depicts the story of a young, Jamaican man who upon settling in London is tasked with delivering a package of cocaine to a don. Along the way, comes in contact with the man who murdered his brother when they lived in Jamaica. He is torn: to avenge his brother or continue with his task.

Starring: Aml Ameen, Shantol Jackson, Sheldon Shepherd, Everaldo Creary, Mark Smith, Naomi Ackie Frader James, Clavin Demba Phillips Nortey and more.

Directed by: Idris Elba.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

The Fosters depicted the day-to-day trials and tribulations of a West Indian immigrant family living in South London in a tower block in 80s Britain. The kids are approaching the difficult stage as they start meeting members of the opposite sex. This show made Lenny Henry into the nationally recognised star he is today.

Starring: Lenny Henry, Norman Beaton, Isabelle Lucas, Carmen Munroe, Sharon Rosita and Lawrie Mark.

Available for catchup on Youtube

Been So Long became the 1st contemporary romantic musical movie starring a Black British couple. The movie sees a single mother who meets a charming stranger with a somewhat ‘troubled’ past later falling in love.

Starring: Arinze Kene, Michaela Cole, Ronke Adekoluego, Bashy, Rakie Ayola, Jo Martin.

Available to stream on Netflix

Bullet Boy portrays the story of two Black British brothers from Hackney: one only just out of his teens, the other having just entered them, and both caught up in events over which they ultimately have little control.

Starring: Ashley Walters, Luke Fraser, Clare Perskins, Curtis Walker, Sharea Samuels.

Available to watch on BFI Screen Online

Youth culture meets identity politics in this part-thriller, part-gay love story set in London in 1977 at the height of pirate radio. Young Soul Rebels is a movie about how social and sexual tensions in the community reach boiling point following the murder of a local Black gay man.

Starring: Valentine Nonyela, Mo Sesay, Sophie Okonedo, Gary Mcdonald, Eamonn Walker, Ray Shell.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Belle follows the story of a biracial ‘illegitimate’ daughter of a navy admiral who is trained and brought up by her aristocratic uncle and his wife. She grows up to abolish slavery in England.

Starring: Gugu Mbathu-Raw and Lauren Julien-Box

Watch on Youtube

Youngers was a short TV series which followed a group of friends in South East London trying to negotiate their way through teenage life as they navigate through college.

Starring: Calvin Demba, Ade Oyefeso, Percelle Ascott, Joivan Wade, Arinze Kene, Little Simz, Dee Curtier, Kurtis Blow.

Available for catch up on Channel 4

Sunny D is a comedy show about a 30-something year old man with depression, struggling to grow up and still living with his parents.

Starring: Dane Baptiste, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Don Warrington and Akemnji Ndifornyen.

Available for catch up on BBC Iplayer

Babymother was a coming of age movie about a single mother with dreams of making it as singer. However, the struggles of living in London and death of her mother make it difficult for her to achieve her dreams. But her two bestfriends are as determined to make it big so they do whatever it takes to make it big.

Starring: Caroline Chikezie, Anjela Lauren Smith, Tameka Empson, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Don Warrington, Jil Johnson, Suzette Llewellyn, Corinne Smith-Carter, Anton Rice.

Available to watch on Deptford Cinema

Named after UK’s Stop and Search laws: Sus laws where police use violent means to coerce a confession from a murder suspect. SUS is a historical drama in 1979 and Margaret Thatcher is about to come into power. A young Black man is held on suspicion of murdering his pregnant wife. Racist officers Karn and Wilby try to lure the suspect into a quick confession.

Starring: Clint Dyer, Anjela Lauren Smith.

Available to watch on DVD

The Little Ones is a comedic tale of two boys: one Black, one White both of whom are unhappy living at home in London so they set out to run away to Jamaica where Jackie’s father lives.

Starring: Carl Gonzales

Read more about the movie here

Blacker is a biography story of well-known reggae record shop owner and music producer, Blacker Dread, his extended family, friends and the wider Brixton community. The film focuses on a tumultuous time in Blacker’s life: the death of his mother and the prospect of his first prison sentence.

Starring: Blacker Dread

Available to stream on beingblackerfilm.com

Sixteen takes on the story of a Congolese teenage refugee (who may or may not have been a child soldier) confronts his traumatic past and PTSD when he witnesses someone getting stabbed.

Starring: Roger Jean Nsengiyumva

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

The Last Tree is a critically acclaimed drama following the story of Femi, a Nigerian British boy who struggles to blend in life in London and cultural differences after living in Lincolnshire.

Starring: Sam Adewunmi, Nicholas Pinnock, Tai Godding, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Ruthxijah Bellenea, Dammy Ladipo, Jammal Ibrahim, Rasaq Kukoyi

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

A Moving Image is an award winning multimedia feature film about gentrification in Brixton. Nina, a young journalist returns to her community after a long absence and is soon painted as a symbol of gentrification. She begins to create a piece of art that can bring her community together.

Starring: Tanya Fear, Aki Omoshaybi, Yrsa Daley Ward, Yinka Oyewole.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Guerrilla is a six-part British drama miniseries set in 70s London, against the backdrop of the Immigration Act 1971 and British Black power movements such as the British Black Panthers and Race Today Collective. A pair of activists in 1970s London set out to free a political prisoner and wage a resistance movement.

Starring: Zawe Ashton, Nicholas Pinnock, Babou Ceesay, Idris Elba, Bradon Scott, Nathaniel Martello-White, Wunmi Mosaku.

Directed by: Idris Elba

Watch the movie on Amazon Prime

Babylon (1980) is the story of Blue, a young Jamaican man living in Brixton in 1980. He is leader of a mobile disc jockey team and while he prepares for an upcoming sound system competition, jealousy and crime in London’s slums see his friendships tested by many things including racism. The film captures the trials and tribulations of young Black youths in London in the early eighties.

Starring: Brinsley Forde, Trevor Laird, Victor Romero Evans, Archie Pool, Brian Bowell, Mark Monero and more.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Burning an Illusion is a British drama movie about a young Black British-born woman living around the London area of Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove. She searches for security in her life and hopes to achieve it through marriage however, the false arrest and merciless beating of her boyfriend by the police forces a turning point in both their lives.

Starring: Cassie McFarlane, Victor Romeo Evans, Malcolm Frederick, Angela Wynter, Beverely Martin, Corrine Skinner-Carter, Trevor Laird, Chris Tummings, Brian Bovell.

Watch the full movie on Vimeo

Pressure (1976) became the UK’s first Black feature film in 1976. It follows the story of a young black man in England enduring discrimination despite his best efforts to blend in with white society before he gets involved in collective Black action. It’s a movie about the tensions between first and second generation West Indians living in racist London.

Starring: Herbert Norville, Ram John Holder, Norman Beaton, Frank Singuineau, Sheila Scott-Wilkenson, Oscar James, Archie Pool, Corinne Skinner-Carter

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Sitting in Limbo is feature-length factual TV drama about the Windrush scandal. The story focuses on the real-life experiences of a Jamaican-born British man, Anthony Bryan, one of the victims of the UK Home Office hostile environment policy on immigration.

Starring: Patrick Robinson, Nadine Marshall, Pippa Bennette-Walker

Available to watch on BBC Iplayer

Past Campaigns

Claudia Jones: creator of the Notting Hill carnival https://bbeldn.co.uk/claudiajones-motherofthecarnival

Celebrating Our Menhttps://bbeldn.co.uk/mens-week-celebrating-our-men

2020 IWD/Women’s History Month  – https://www.bbeldn.co.uk/womens-history-month-nominees

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