Sitting In Limbo centres around the Windrush scandal, when many individuals had come to the UK from the West Indies over 50 years ago, after being invited over in the years after World War II, and had since settled and made a life for themselves, but were only now being insisted to present their proof of residency. If they can’t provide them, then they run the risk of being deported, even if they have fought in the army for the UK, thus risking their lives.
Set in Edmonton, London, from June 2016 onwards, this drama is based on the experience of Anthony Bryan (Patrick Robinson – The Trouble With Maggie Cole), who is suddenly suspended from his janitor job in a care home because they’ve had a letter from the Home Office, stating he’s not a UK citizen and has no right to work in the UK. His employer tells him his is just a temporary thing while he gets everything sorted out, but are they just placating him?
In any event, this is a massive slap in the face after all this time, and if anyone born in the UK was asked to immediately provide a number of documents from decades ago, how many of us could actually find them? For Anthony, he’s asked for his mother’s passport, despite the fact he came to the UK in 1965, aged 8, and on said passport.
To make matters worse, he’s soon arrested for being a suspected illegal immigrant.
Overall, this is a very engaging drama with Patrick Robinson on top form. The only downside is that it’s ‘based on’ Bryan’s story, making me query which parts exactly happened, and which are a bit ‘Ken Loach’, i.e. where he takes documented cases from several individuals, and applies them all to one, making if feel very much like “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong”.
It’s also shot mostly in the dark, seemingly for aesthetic reasons. As well as Anthony only ever having lights that point at the walls rather than towards anyone in the room, all the government offices seem to have forgotten to flick the light switch as well. Come on, drama producers, please don’t be so ridiculous.
Finally, there’s a welcome appearance from Tim Preece as Anthony’s former headmaster, Mr Hardcastle, who he goes to see at one point, and the man is best known (to me) as Tom from The Fall And Rise of Reginald Perrin!
Sitting In Limbo isn’t available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but you can watch it now on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Stella Corradi
Producer: Pier Wilkie
Writer: Stephen S Thompson
Anthony: Patrick Robinson
Janet: Nadine Marshall
Eileen: Pippa Bennett-Warner
Gary: CJ Beckford
Barrington: Andrew Dennis
Trevor: Jay Simpson
Mr Hardcastle: Tim Preece
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.