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The BBC drama “My name is Leon” sheds light on the harsh reality of the 1981 Birmingham riots.

It was a warm summer day, but the heat of the cars burning in the streets made Lamb Parkash feel like walking in hell.

Lamb returned to Handsworth, Birmingham from a school trip at the age of 18, but his hometown was fire When tensions between locals and police develop into riots.

“The car was turned over, burned, and the building was looted,” recalls Ram, now 57. “It has always been a final war zone. Tensions have been there for a long time.”

It was 1981. Unemployment was high and in many areas blacks had poor police relations due to the “suspension and search” law. Similar uprisings occurred in Brixton, South London and Toxteth, Liverpool.

Hector Pinkney, 70, was a youth club worker at the time, arranging activities to discourage young people from “how terribly desolate it was.”

The problem is behind the heartbreaking new BBC 2 drama “My name is Leon”
(Image: BBC / Douglas Road Productions / Ben Gregory-Ring)

This issue is behind the heartbreaking new BBC 2 drama “My Name is Leon” about a mixed-breed boy who was entrusted to foster parents and separated from his blonde blue-eyed brother.

Executive Producer Sir Lenny Henry plays the role of a cameo who plays an older mentor called Johnson.

In the “continuous police persecution”, Hector’s actual efforts to stop the riots over July 2 were not sufficient.

My name is Leon. Follow the true story of a mixed-race boy who was entrusted to a foster parent and separated from his blonde blue-eyed younger brother.
My name is Leon. Follow the true story of a mixed-race boy who was entrusted to a foster parent and separated from his blonde blue-eyed younger brother.
(Image: BBC / Douglas Road Productions / Ben Gregory-Ring)

Hector, a lifetime champion of the Handsworth community, won the MBE in 2011. He recalls that a black man was arrested “just standing on the street”, many children were taken care of, and his family was torn apart.

“I ran a martial arts class and a group of roller skates when the youth club had money for such a thing. At that time, police took you to the station for no reason. They were beating you. They would give you jam sandwiches and tea. And spit tea. They put the head of a young black man in the toilet and washed the chains.

“The police wanted to make a striped pattern for them.” See, boss, I arrested some black guys, “he says.

Hector Pinkney outside Leonard Road's parents' home, still in his family
Hector Pinkney outside Leonard Road’s parents’ home, still in his family
(Image: Birmingham Mail / Darren Quinton)

previous West Midlands Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Layton said: “Police is not a perfect science. Things can go very wrong, but the heart of policing is community style. Without these relationships, reassuring the public and finding and preventing crime. You can not.”

Mike, Birmingham’s forefront author, adds:

“But since the 1980s, great progress has been made in improving relations to increase the number of black and Asian police officers.”

The aftermath of the riots in Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands, July 11, 1981.
The aftermath of riots in Handsworth, Birmingham and the West Midlands. July 11, 1981
(Image: Mirrorpix)

In 1981, 17-year-old Jagwant Johal recalled “finally a boiling bubbling pot” and stated that it was “just a general hell” every day.

The race campaign official said: “Black and Asian youth were constantly standing still and being searched. Tensions with the police meant that everyone was preparing something to happen.

“When I heard rumors that the National Front march was coming to Handsworth, my friends and I were heading to the amusement park.

“The shopkeeper started to get into the store. We had to protect ourselves – the attack on Handsworth was an attack on all of us.

Police in riots in West Midlands, Birmingham and Handsworth on July 11, 1981.
Police in riots in West Midlands, Birmingham and Handsworth on July 11, 1981.
(Image: Mirrorpix)

“Soon 100 young blacks, Asians and whites gathered. Police gathered in a riot van. Brick flew and a fight broke out. A friend was beaten in the head and blood was bleeding. The pub landlord patched him. “

Less than a mile away, the Union Jack flag celebrating the royal wedding of Charles and Diana hung from the window. By the time of the Birmingham riots, Newface’s 1975 winner, Lenny, had left the Midlands for years using comedy as a “shield and sword.”

He states: As a boy student. I was bullied every day and racistly abused. “

Lamb recalls the “white only” sign at the club. “During the day, racial hatred during the day is difficult even for the most mediocre people, so there is a sense of necessity for what happened.”

Riot Night Handsworth Scene, Birmingham, West Midlands July 10, 1981
Riot Night Handsworth Scene, Birmingham, West Midlands July 10, 1981
(Image: Mirrorpix)

But the community wasn’t destroyed by “banning the minority” by racism, says Ram, who had black, white, and Asian friends.

Recalling the riot, he says. “When my dad got home, he ran up to the hut, picked up the hammer and ran away. We never asked what he used it for. He was the police. I was fighting for a community that would protect me from the world. “

Between July 10th and 11th, Birmingham suffered the worst violence of the year. It cost more than £ 500,000 and led to the arrest of 85 injured police officers and hundreds.

A government-consigned Sir Scarman’s report on the Brixton riots in April 1981 found evidence of imbalanced and indiscriminate use of the power of “stop and search” against blacks.

He also identified some police failures, but did not explicitly condemn police racism and denied “institutional racism.”

My name is Leonairs from BBC Two and BBC iPlayer
My name is Leonairs from BBC Two and BBC iPlayer
(Image: BBC / Douglas Road Productions / Ben Gregory-Ring)

It was symbolically “accepted” by then-Minister of the Interior William Whitelaw, but the Thatcher administration was unable to coordinate its policies as Skarman suggested.

Lenny said: And it shouldn’t. “

Hector is currently working with executives, adding: But it still requires law and order. “

Lamb said: “There has been an improvement in the relationship between police and the community.” Last year, Jagwant launched the Birmingham Race Impact Group to promote racial justice.

  • My name is Leon, which airs on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer at 9pm tonight.

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https://www.irishmirror.ie/tv/bbc-drama-name-leon-sheds-27194660 The BBC drama “My name is Leon” sheds light on the harsh reality of the 1981 Birmingham riots.

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