Three Little Birds – The DVDfever Review – ITV drama – Lenny Henry

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Three Little Birds is Lenny Henry’s Windrush drama, which he has created and co-written by Lenny Henry, best known to the kid me as being on Tiswas and then his own sketch show, before later moving to drama in Hope And Glory and Screen One’s Alive and Kicking.

It’s 1957, and after moving to England, Leah Whittaker (Rochelle Neil) – escaping from an abusive husband, Hosanna Drake (Yazmin Belo) and Chantrelle Brahms (Saffron CoomberThe Deceived) realise that racism is alive and well, as shown on the window of a bedsit for hire with the – typical for the time – sign, “No blacks. No Irish. No dogs”, along with various racist graffiti which I won’t repeat here.

Accommodation in London isn’t exactly The Ritz, but somehow also appears to be Partytown for everyone in the area.

Leah and Chantrelle are sisters, while their friend, Hosanna, is – to their brother, Aston (Javone PrinceInside No.9: Empty Orchestra) – hopefully going to provide him with a wife.

The action – for want of a better word – flips back and forth between 1957 London, and some years earlier in Jamaica, where Lenny Henry plays Hosanna’s father, Remuel. The drama doesn’t give us an exact date at this point in time, and we know this is based on his mother Winifred’s experiences of moving to England, but her name isn’t used as one of the characters, so it’s ‘based on’ rather than a documentary.

I can understand that Mr Henry wants to make a drama to reflect an important time in his family’s life, but this isn’t exactly the most plot-packed opening episode of a drama I’ve seen. Apart from Leah dealing with her husband, there’s barely any plot to get a hold of, here, other than the car breaking down and them finding alternative accommodation.

However, I am aware that 8pm on a Sunday evening is ‘gentle drama’ time, and not something you have to particularly concentrate on.

Three Little Birds isn’t something I’m going to be watching on a regular basis, but I know it’ll suit its target audience.

Three Little Birds begins tomorrow night on ITV at 9pm. Once aired, each episode will also be on ITVX. It’s available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of the release on December 4th.

Three Little Birds – Official Trailer – ITV

Series Directors: Darcia Martin, Charles McDougall, Yero Timi-Biu
Producers: Stella Nwimo
Creator: Lenny Henry
Writers: Lenny Henry, Avril E Russell, Carol Russell
Music: Benjamin Kwasi Burrell

Leah Whittaker: Rochelle Neil
Hosanna Drake: Yazmin Belo
Chantrelle Brahms: Saffron Coomber
Ephraim Whittaker: Leemore Marrett Jr
Caleb Whittaker: Malachi Hall
Gideon Whittaker: Shay Descartes
Saleh Whittaker: Tierney Turner
Aston Brahms: Javone Prince
Vince the landlord: Martin Trenaman
Diana Wantage: Amy Beth Hayes
Gregory: Gamba Cole
Ernest Wantage: Arthur Darvill
Shelton Powell: Bobby Gordon
Siobhan: Michelle Fox
Remuel Drake: Lenny Henry
Dougie: Nigel Boyle
Mrs. Biswas: Shobu Kapoor
Bernadette: Shvorne Marks
Momma Gladys: Susan Lawson-Reynolds
Young girl: Kayla Kargbo
Barrington: Akil Largie
Young Hosanna: Ahlana-Jean Adebambo