A Touch Of The Tar Brush

TX: Channel 4


50 mins, Documentary

Director: John Akomfrah

Producers: Lina Gopaul and David Lawson

Presenter / director John Akomfrah gives his unique views on an English identity with a portrait of mixed race life in the English city of Liverpool. The film follows the lives of three mixed race families whose history in the city spans over 200 years.

Using J.B. Priestley’s 1933 travelogue English Journey as the narrative spine – in which he describes speaking to a number of bi-racial school children – John Akomfrah returns to Liverpool 50 year later to explore the very community Priestley described in his book and to give his views on an English identity.

Through a mixture of archival footage and interviews with the great-grand children of Priestley’s encounter. A Touch of the Tar Brush challenges the notion that racial purity is a necessary constituent of English national identity. A look at the new England.