London Story, The

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0120100706Playwright Kwame Kwei-armah explores how London became the vibrant world city of today.|Playwright Kwame Kwei-armah explores how, over the last thirty years, London became a diverse, creatively rich world city and how its brash, dynamic and uncompromising population has shaped its politics and culture since the 1970s.|There is no such thing as a typical Londoner - one in three of the city's residents was born outside the UK and some 300 languages are spoken in the capital.|Those who come to London are drawn to its teeming possibilities, its openness and its promise of life without limits - you can be who you want to be because everybody else is too busy enjoying the buzz to care.|Yet in the 1970s London was on the brink - a depressed city with a declining population and a shrinking manufacturing base.|These days the population is growing again and, recession notwithstanding, the city is basking in a cultural resurgence and a confidence in its 24 hour cosmopolitan reputation which is evident from the streets of Soho to the bustle of Brick Lane.|On the other hand, it's argued that today's London at the top of its game has become adrift from the rest of the UK, that it's now a city of the world rather than of its own country.|Brought up in 1970s Southall in west London, Kwame returns to his childhood haunts to hear how his neighbourhood's history laid the foundations of what Southall is today - a lively, multi ethnic community.|In April 1979 tensions in Southall led to protests in the streets and clashes with the police that cost the life of demonstrator Blair Peach.|Today's Southall is a relatively harmonious community and Kwame hears the stories of how its evolution from that crisis has eptiomised the coming of age of the 21st century's dynamic, multi ethnic London.|Producer: Paula McGinley.
02 LAST20100713Kwame Kwei-armah discovers how London's cultural riches propelled it to world city status.|Playwright Kwame Kwei-armah discovers how London culture took on the world, blazing a trail in theatre, art and fashion over the last thirty years.|Today London is a glittering world city - its theatres an irresistible draw for big name American actors while its galleries are attracting visitors in ever increasing numbers and its fashion - from the street to the catwalk - is setting the trends.|Kwame discovers what drove this success and the part played by the financial services sector in contributing to this creative flow.|Back in the dark days of the Seventies London's theatre swung uneasily between the edgy politics of the burgeoning fringe to the West End's programme of sex comedies and farces.|These days challenging productions and passionate writing have made London the stage for thoughtful, provocative and crowd pleasing work.|Beset by industrial instability and the three day week, the Seventies weren't the best decade for artistic output -|the YBAs were yet to transform London's art scene and Tate Modern was not even a drawing on architectural plans.|Now the stunning Tate Modern is firmly established as the world's most prestigious museum of modern art - an essential stop for tourists and Londoners alike - and building work has started on its much anticipated extension.|Kwame explores how these cultural changes in London have affected the city's status and led to its swaggering self belief - the envy of other capital cities around the world - and finds out how much the capital relies on the City's wealth and philanthropy to support its flourishing arts scene.