In 1939 Hortense, illegitimate but intelligent and ambitious, is brought up on Jamaica with the family of charismatic, free-thinking Michael, who joins the Air Force when war breaks out and... See full summary »

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5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Narrator
Terence Frisch ...
Taxi Driver
...
Queenie
...
Gilbert
Roger Sloman ...
Mr. Todd
...
Michael
Glen Campbell ...
Mr. Philip Roberts
...
Miss Jewel
...
Mrs. Ryder
...
Mr. Ryder
Teddy Price ...
Pastor
Avenia Powell ...
Pastor's Wife
...
Winston
Denise Black ...
Aunt Dorothy
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Storyline

In 1939 Hortense, illegitimate but intelligent and ambitious, is brought up on Jamaica with the family of charismatic, free-thinking Michael, who joins the Air Force when war breaks out and goes to England. After the war, Hortense, now a qualified teacher, makes a marriage of convenience to Gilbert Joseph, paying for his passage to England on condition he sends for her. She not only hopes to see Michael again but believes that living in Britain will give her more scope. When she arrives in London in 1948, she is extremely disappointed by the one room in which they must live and the obvious colour prejudice. Queenie, their liberal landlady, is also a woman used to disappointment, marrying decent but dull and sexless Bernard to get her away from the family farm. Whilst Bernard - now presumed missing - was in the Air Force during the war, she first took in lodgers from the armed forces, partly for the company, including Michael, with whom she had sex. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Drama

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6 December 2009 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Karl Johnson (Arthur) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Bernard) play father and son. In 2015, they both appeared on stage in Hamlet at the Barbican, where Benedict Cumberbatch played Hamlet, and Karl Johnson played the Ghost of Hamlet's father - another father and son pairing. See more »

Connections

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 3 December 2009 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(uncredited)
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User Reviews

Gripping Social Drama
25 April 2010 | by (FLA-GA) – See all my reviews

This compelling two-part Masterpiece Theatre offering is another reason why people should support public television.

A period piece placed in the not too distant past, Director John Alexander has assembled a fine cast to portray expatriated Jamaicans who, for a variety of reasons,choose the English Motherland over their Caribbean homeland. Set in the postwar years following Hitler's defeat, "Small Island" explores racial issues and colonial ideology. It also provokes viewers to examine the concepts associated with legitimate birthrights and those who are heir to less than noble beginnings.

I may hate the pledge drives, but quality public programming makes for satisfying presentations like "Small Island" worth all those gift mugs and tote bags.


29 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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