Channel 4 will attempt to “uncover a common notion of what it means to be British in the 21st century” with a new two-part reality show, Make Bradford British.
The programme is to “address the most inflammatory issue of today – the fact that the future of Britain is no longer majority white”.
Set in the Yorkshire city, Make Bradford British will see participants sitting a citizenship test, sharing a house and then being paired up to swap lives. This, according to the broadcaster, will lead to “life-changing encounters, the results of which are eye-opening and revealing”.
More than 100 people from in and around Bradford took the citizenship test for the show, and fewer than 10 per cent passed. Eight participants were selected from those who failed.
Official UK citizenship tests include questions like: “Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE?
‘In the 1980s, the largest immigrant groups were from the West Indies, Ireland, India and Pakistan” and “In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband?”
Channel 4 say the show is designed to see “if people of different racial, religious and cultural backgrounds can live happily together, or is it better to live apart”, adding that it will help people to “see what happens when you bring people who usually live segregated lives together for the first time”.
Executive producer Richard McKerrow of Love Productions said: “Our ambition is to uncover a common notion of what it means to be British in the 21st century. And we felt that Bradford was an interesting and ideal place to explore this idea. Is there a core set of values or a shared knowledge that underpins the British identity?”
Channel 4’s chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, said: “In a speech earlier this year, David Cameron launched an attack on state multiculturalism saying it has allowed the weakening of our collective identity. This is exactly the area that documentaries should be probing – asking difficult and challenging questions through an engaging and interesting format.”
Make Bradford British will air in two parts in January 2012.