Socialist Worker

Many colours

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 1817

IF YOU'VE spent the last two years planning to read Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth you can now take a shortcut. Channel 4 has turned the highly popular novel into a four-part series. It is about the way that people from different backgrounds mix in modern Britain.

Archie is an indecisive Englishman who can only make a decision after tossing a coin. Samad is a proud Bangladeshi man. Clara is a young woman from Jamaica who meets Archie after breaking free from her mother's strict Jehovah's Witness religion, and Alsana is a fiery Bangladeshi woman.

The story revolves around their and their children's relationships in multiracial Britain. White Teeth starts in the London of the 1970s. Archie, Samad, Alsana and Clara's story takes us through to the turn of the millennium. It deals with race and racism in a very funny and sensitive way. Unfortunately, the TV programme does not have the same depth and subtlety of plot and character as the book.

Despite this White Teeth is a very entertaining watch.

White Teeth begins on Channel 4 at 10pm on Tuesday 17 September.


Elephants are on the march

THE WRITER and comedian Mark Steel is returning with a new series of his brilliant The Mark Steel Lecture. Mark picks six major figures from history and describes the impact they have had on society.

The opening programme focuses on the composer Beethoven. Another programme looks at Hannibal, who travelled from North Africa with 37 elephants to attack the Romans in Italy.

The Mark Steel Lecture begins on Wednesday 18 September on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm.

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Article information

Sat 14 Sep 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1817
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