Immigration has been a hot topic for Channel 4 for several years, but this three-part series, narrated by a Romanian gypsy, took a fresh approach.

The Romanians Are Coming

The Romanians Are Coming

Keo Films for Channel 4

Immigration has been a hot topic for Channel 4 for several years, but this three-part series, narrated by a Romanian gypsy, took a fresh approach.

Its great characters were front and centre – some spoke almost no English and were compelled to come to Britain because of poverty at home, while others were educated and came to take up jobs, but still faced prejudice.

The series was a tonal masterpiece, switching from moments of genuine humour and ingenuity to unflinching portrayals of poverty, both in the UK and Romania.

The deep-seated social problems faced by gypsies in Romania were an important part of the series. Narrator Alex lived in a settlement on the edge of a rubbish dump and was immediately identified as an asset by the production team. He gave the series a sense of genuine authenticity and even ended up providing creative input into the final cuts.

His forthright views and scenes of gypsies living in squalor touched a nerve in Romania – and the country’s president wrote to C4 demanding the series be pulled. The series also showed Britain through the eyes of the immigrants, from being wowed by Liverpool’s city centre shops to grabbing a few minutes of free wi-fi in Victoria Coach Station.

The series was warm but did not shy away from tough topics, and impressed the judges by offering insight and a healthy dose of entertainment.



Minnow Films for BBC Two

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The Garden Productions for Channel 4

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Twofour and Group M Entertainment in association with Open University for Channel 4

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Renegade Pictures for Channel 4

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