BritBox Releases First Look Photos for Lenny Henry's 'Three Little Birds'

Rochelle Neil, Yazmin Belo, and Saffron Coomber in a combined image for Three Little Birds

Rochelle Neil, Yazmin Belo, and Saffron Coomber in Three Little Birds


Sir Lenny Henry's Three Little Birds is one of BritBox's most anticipated imports from the BBC heading this way in 2023. The actor doesn't star in it, however; he wrote it. It's his first TV drama series, based on the story of his own family, which came to England as part of the Windrush generation. Workshopped with the help of Doctor Who's Russell T. Davies, the six-part drama is a 1950s-era period piece, telling a story from English history that's been overlooked by media for nearly a century, and is finally getting its due for the first time.

June 2023 marks 75 years since the arrival of what's known in the U.K. as the "Windrush Generation," a phrase used to refer to the massive influx of people who arrived in England from Caribbean countries starting in 1948 and ending in 1971. The name was derived from the HMT Empire Windrush, a ship that brought 1,029 passengers from the island nation as the first major group of immigrants, which landed in 1948. The ship became a symbol of the wider mass-migration movement sparked by the U.K.'s decision to open its borders to the citizens of any country that was part of the Commonwealth as a way to import labor to rebuild the country after World War II.

For years, the term was usually meant as derogatory, especially in the early 1970s, when a resurgence of nationalism caused the U.K. to end the practice. But with the help of time, distance, and an understanding of the racism faced by those who braved the journey to a new home, the country is looking back on the period with new eyes. The BBC has a documentary coming out this month, Windrush: Portraits Of A Generation, a 75-minute documentary to commemorate National Windrush Day on 22 June 2023. And the network has released the first images from Henry's forthcoming series.

Rochelle Neil looks disappointed as Leah in Three Little Birds

Rochelle Neil as Leah in Three Little Birds


Here is the show's synopsis:

Set in 1957, post-Windrush, and amidst the booming decade set alight by promise, the rhythm of rock and roll, swing, Hollywood starlets, and fabulous fashion, Three Little Birds will introduce Dudley and the rest of the world to gregarious sisters Leah and Chantrelle and their virtuous, bible-loving acquaintance, Hosanna, as they board a cruise ship from Jamaica bound for a new life in Blighty.

Lured to the UK in search of new beginnings by their older brother Aston, who asks Leah and Chantrelle if they’ll bring him a potential wife from back home, they convince Hosanna to give up her job as a trainee nurse and embark upon the journey to the mother country. An effervescent mix of strong personalities, they all have very different reasons for leaving their family and friends behind in Clarendon, Jamaica, though they soon discover it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, not least the dramatic change in weather. While we learn shocking truths about the lives they left behind, the voyage of discovery is not smooth sailing for our trio, but they are determined to succeed and overcome the many obstacles of integration and build a new life in Britain.

Saffron Coomber as Chantrelle flirts with a sailor in Three Little Birds

Saffron Coomber as Chantrelle in Three Little Birds


The series stars rising stars Rochelle Neil (Guilt) and Saffron Coomber (Tracey Beaker Returns) as sisters Leah and Chantrelle, respectively, with Yazmin Belo (What Just Happened) as Hosanna. Javone Prince–Dodger (Yesterday) plays Leah and Chantrelle’s brother Aston.

The series also stars Bobby Gordon (Hollyoaks) as the sisters’ new factory worker colleague Shelton. Arthur Darvill (The Sandman) and Beth Hayes (Mr. Selfridge) co-star as Chantrelle’s employers, Mr. and Mrs. Wantage, who expect far more from her than just cooking shepherd’s pie and minding their three children as their new live-in Nanny.

Yazmin Belo as Hosannah clutches her bible in Three Little Birds

Yazmin Belo as Hosannah in Three Little Birds


Henry is credited with authoring all six scripts with assistance from Davies. Directors Charles McDougall (Queer as Folk), Yero Timi Biu (Chloe), and Darcia Martin (Call The Midwife) will each helm two episodes. Henry and Davies are executive producers on the series along with McDougall, Lucy Bedford, Kate Crowe, and Angela Ferreira.

Three Little Birds does not yet have a release date.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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