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The story follows former football hooligan Ray Knight, a normal everyday family man who works as a security guard at a financial trading company in Canary Wharf, the symbol of corporate wealth which looms high over the impoverished communities below. Newfound social responsibilities are trampled underfoot when Ray's racist past is revived amid tensions between Whites and Asians jostling for position on the council housing list. Among those who are wanting to be rehoused in a new development is Ray's alcoholic ex-wife Sadie and his teenage daughter Nikki. After a failed attempt to rehouse Sadie and Nikki, and soon discovering that Nikki is involved in heroin addiction, Ray's anger drives him to join a BNP organization led by his old friend Larry Knowles. Written by
It Didn`t Really Exceed My Expectations But It Tried
One of the problems I have with the BBC is how politically correct it is , political correctness being an inverted fascist philosophy I have no time for , I`m an adult and I can make up my own mind on issues without the BBC doing a long running story on EASTENDERS dealing with race issues or having to put up with agenda driven " entertainment " like ALL ABOUT ME telling me what to think . In short I wasn`t expecting much from ENGLAND EXPECTS a much hyped drama from the BBC dealing with racism
!!!!! SPOILERS !!!!!
It starts off well with the underrated Steven McIntosh playing Ray who works as a security guard . He`s best friends with a collegue who is not only black but who makes jokes about Asians and 9/11 so right away we`re not seeing an expected polemical diatribe that shows white people = bad and non white people = good . An even bigger shock arrives when we see a smack dealer who`s Asian and who is selling drugs to Ray`s teenage daughter ! This is not a drama where the BBC sticks its ridiculous PC nonsense down the audience throats and for that it deserves much credit . However despite its opening ENGLAND EXPECTS falls apart , due not to the politics but due to gaps in logic , characterisation and some weak scripting
It`s never revealed onscreen as to which organization Ray was a " vanguard " member of providing physical protection to the unnamed party shown , but it`s almost certainly the British National Party is the one in question which means Ray is a former member of the notorious Combat 18 . Would a one time C-18 member EVER be friendly with a black collegue at work ? Wouldn`t it have been better to portray Ray as a completely average Joe ? Oh and Ray later starts stalking a woman at work which is a rather unconvincing and unnecessary subplot , and most unconvincing of all Ray dies in a completely contrived manner at the end , an ending that hints we`re about to be on the recieving end of a bombing campaign by teenage racist virgins living in bedsits !
ENGLAND EXPECTS does deserve some credit . It`s not really patronizing and I can`t really fault it on the grounds of being politically correct , in fact it does make the point that a large section of the mainstream white population are alienated by weak politicians and strong market forces in Britain today but this teleplay doesn`t reach its full potential . If the production team had spent a little more time making Ray a little more credible in terms of both characterization and motive and had come up with a better ending this would have been devestating and unforgettable , it would have been British TV drama at its best
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