The heartbreaking true story behind Windrush scandal drama Sitting In Limbo

18 June 2020, 14:49 | Updated: 18 June 2020, 15:48

Sitting In Limbo in based on the Windrush scandal
Sitting In Limbo in based on the Windrush scandal. Picture: BBC/ITV

What is the true story behind new drama Sitting In Limbo? Find out everything…

New drama Sitting in Limbo has come at a particularly poignant time.

As Black Lives Matter protests continue across the country, the movie is based on Anthony Bryan who was caught up in the Windrush Scandal and almost deported.

The film tells the story of those who arrived in the UK from the Caribbean during the 1970s and were denied legal rights, detained and deported.

But what happened to Anthony Bryan and what is the true story behind Sitting In Limbo?

What is the true story behind Sitting In Limbo?

Sitting in Limbo portrays the story of just one of the victims of the government’s ‘hostile environment policy’ on immigration.

Sitting In Limbo tells the story of Anthony Bryan who was a victim of the Windrush scandal
Sitting In Limbo tells the story of Anthony Bryan who was a victim of the Windrush scandal. Picture: BBC

In 2015, a Jamaican-born British man called Anthony Bryan was detained by the Home Office and threatened with deportation.

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Anthony - played by actor Patrick Robinson in the drama - arrived from Jamaica aged eight with his mother, Lucille as part of the Windrush generation in 1965.

The Windrush generation were Caribbean immigrants who came to Britain between 1948 and 1973 to help fill labour shortage gaps after World War II, and were automatically given permanent citizenship.

Anthony grew up in London and left school at 16 to work in a furniture factory.

He went on to become a painter and decorator, paying taxes for more than 40 years and bringing up his family in the city.

In 2015, Anthony applied for a British passport for the first time so he could visit his sick mother who had retired back to Jamaica.

When he arrived in the UK, he used his older brother’s passport because he didn’t have his own.

But when Home Secretary at the time, Theresa May introduced new rules requiring evidence of legal immigration status, Anthony became a victim of this 'hostile environment policy'.

After his passport application was rejected, the Home Office’s immigration enforcement contractor, Capita, told him he would be deported from the UK and had no right to stay.

When Capita then told his employer they could be fined £10,000 if they continued to let him work, he lost his job.

Anthony Bryan is played by actor Patrick Robinson
Anthony Bryan is played by actor Patrick Robinson. Picture: BBC

He then lost his right to use the NHS and to receive a state pension, while he was also unable to claim benefits as he didn't have enough documents to identify him.

Anthony and his partner Janet eventually had to move in with their daughter due to financial difficulties.

In 2016, Anthony was forcibly removed from his home by police and immigration officials and was held at an immigration detention centre for two and a half weeks, before being released.

In November 2017, he was taken to Campsfield detention centre after an appeal was rejected.

Anthony was about to be deported to Jamaica, but last-minute intervention by an immigration lawyer prevented this.

Now 62-years-old, he still lives in the UK but hasn't received compensation from the government.

His younger brother, novelist Stephen S Thompson, used his story to write the script for Sitting In Limbo.

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