Last Whites of the East End

Close-up of Peter Bell, Manager of East Ham Working Men’s Club


Production Company: Lambent Productions

Channel: BBC One

Date: May 2016

In the usual heady rush of TV scheduling, we were contacted at the last minute – just two weeks before transmission – to promote the thoughtful and provocative documentary Last Whites of the East End.

This revealing documentary looked at contemporary Britain and the impact of immigration on one long-standing community – the East End cockneys. With the European referendum looming and immigration at the top of the agenda, the challenge was to create a thoughtful campaign that acknowledged the complexities lying beneath the surface of this story – a portrait of this tight-knit community, and what is driving them to leave.

Journalists from the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail invested a lot of time and energy visiting the area and speaking to contributors first-hand resulting in thoughtful features that raised important questions. The debate on radio and TV was similarly open and informed. On BBC London’s Vanessa Feltz Show callers spoke about sweeping changes taking place across the city – from Bromley to Brixton, not just in Newham. Feltz noted that her own grandparents moved from the East End to the suburbs. Meanwhile contributor Usmaan – whose family has lived in the East London for five generations – spoke on Eddie Nestor’s Drive Time show about his real concern that the cockney way of life would vanish.