Episodes 3

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Fire

July 20, 2021

In the early hours of 18 January 1981, in a house in south London, a birthday party ended in a fire. Thirteen young black British people died. The fire and its aftermath would ignite an uprising by the black British community. This film tells the stories of the young people who were at the party and the events that led up to it.

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Blame

July 21, 2021

The story of the aftermath of the New Cross fire and the run up to the Black People's Day of Action. As news spread about the fire at 439 New Cross Road, the scale of the tragedy overwhelmed the local community. Amid uncertainty about whether the fire had been caused by a racist firebomb attack, anger mounted at the police investigation and the seeming indifference of the press and the government to the loss of so many black lives. The Black People's Day of Action, a mass demonstration, was organised to bring the tragedy to the attention of the nation.

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July 22, 2021

After the New Cross fire and the Black People's Day of Action, tensions between the community and the police escalated when a massive stop-and-search operation was launched, targeting black people on the streets of Brixton. In April, the situation boiled over into one of the biggest riots in British history. Buildings were burned down and hundreds of police injured. Riots then flared up all over the country, from Southall to Toxteth, but by the year's end, the people of New Cross were no closer to knowing who started the New Cross fire or why - and a lack of answers and justice has lingered over the case ever since.

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