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TV show pair deserving of praise
The Channel Four programme Make Bradford British attracted a lot of attention to the city for all the wrong reasons, not least of which was its very provocative title.
So it is gratifying to see that two of those featured in the two-part documentary are now using the profile given by a national audience to try and spread the message of promoting cultural diversity and building links between different community groups.
Rashid Mahmood Khan and Damon Scully were two of the eight people from very diverse backgrounds in the Bradford district chosen by the makers of the show and then put under the same roof, Big Brother style.
Channel Four was rightly criticised for the name Make Bradford British and the reality TV show format that was used to ‘sex up’ a potentially valuable social experiment and examination of cultural differences. But it has to be accepted that the journey Rashid and Damon made in understanding each other’s identity and beliefs was an inspirational one. And the fact they are working together now to promote a positive message on racial diversity is a credit to them, if not necessarily to the programme makers.
They are particularly keen to work with young people in the district in a bid to bridge the cultural gaps and bring more community cohesion to the city. It may be a small step in the right direction, but it is fair to say work like this will help to mitigate some of the damage done to the city’s reputation by the programme.
If the programme’s legacy ultimately turns out to be people like Rashid and Damon working together, it will help the city forgive if not forget the way it was portrayed. It certainly played its part in bringing Rashid and Damon together but it is the character of the two men themselves that has driven this project forward, and it is positive efforts like this that will help us address the issues this city has, not sensational television formats.