Plot & Details
As adapted from the bestselling 2004 novel of the same name by Andrea Levy, the miniseries Small Island observes the experiences of two very different married couples - one Jamaican, the other British - whose lives intersect at a point in post-WWII England when the relationship between their parent countries is about to irrevocably change. David Oyelowo and Naomie Harris star as Gilbert and Hortense, Jamaican immigrants who wed in a marriage of convenience and must battle bigotry and intense social rejection from the British on a daily basis. All that they really want is to be proud and happy subjects at the United Kingdom, when it would be easy to feel resentment and fury given the circumstances: many of their fellow countrymen are the descendants of Jamaicans who had been forcibly enslaved to the British Empire in an earlier era. Meanwhile, the couple's married English landlords, Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Queenie (Ruth Wilson) are still rebounding from the experience of a lengthy wartime separation. Queenie projects an unusual attitude toward Gilbert and Hortense, given her lack of bigotry and unquestioning acceptance, but this ironically threatens to create more problems than it solves. Shot in location in Northern Ireland, this miniseries originally aired on the BBC in England, and ran on PBS in the United States, via WGBH's popular Masterpiece Theatre program.