Small Island

UKTV – Wednesdays from 28 April, 8.30pm

Love is the colour you cannot see.

Adapted from the award-winning 2004 novel, this mini-series stars Naomie Harris as Hortense, a young ambitious Jamaican woman thrust into the grit of 1940s post-war London.

Hortense Joseph is a woman with ambitions. Born into an impoverished, broken family, she is brought up by her illegitimate father’s relations. Educated and proud – she is going somewhere in life. Married to Gilbert Joseph, she travels from an island too small for big dreams, to England – a land of promise and untold riches, set on achieving her destiny. But post-war Britain is not what she was expecting – the streets are paved with rubble, not gold. Instead of a land of opportunity, Hortense and her husband are met with poverty, prejudice and abuse.

Gilbert shares her pride in their heritage and in their own abilities, but as an RAF veteran, he is fully aware of the prejudice that lies in wait for them. When fighting for the future of his ‘mother-country’ he finds that this ‘mother’ only has love for some of her children. He was forced to acknowledge that while he fought for Britain, there was no one in that country that would fight for him. Until he met Queenie Bligh.

Queenie is set apart from the rest of her society by her ability to see beyond the colour of a man’s skin.

However, her life has been one of tragedy and bitter disappointment, and while she helps where she can, she has her own worries. Forced to marry Bernard, a kind, but passionless man, to escape a life of poverty and drudgery on the family pig-farm, she craves excitement, change and passion that simply cannot be found in war-time Britain. Until a fleeting moment with the exotic Jamaican, Michael, offers her the excitement she craves, even if only for a short time.

As they come together, from different sides of the globe, crushed by their own disappointment, they find that their lives are far more entwined than they ever could have imagined – love is stronger than they could ever know, and that the fulfillment of all their dreams lies with each other.

Starring: Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean, 28 Days Later), Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre, Capturing Mary), David Oyelowo (Five Days, The Last King of Scotland), Ashley Walters (Speed Racer, Hustle), Nikki Amuka-Bird (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Survivors) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Starter for Ten, Stuart: A Life Backwards).