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Black Silk (1985)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

'A Long Way Away' originally transmitted on BBC2, 7 November 1985
Written by Tunde Ikoli, directed by Jan Sargent

Ayo-Gidi Ojo gets involved in skirmishes between gangs after a Chelsea football match. When the police arrive, the gang members all flee. Ayo-Gidi finds a knife and picks it up. He then sees that a person nearby has been stabbed with it. The police arrest him for the attack. He seems quite pleased when he is put in a cell for the night, apparently not understanding the gravity of the charges against him. After a visit from a police officer, Ayo-Gidi's father Pedro goes to see his ex-wife, but she is uninterested in the fate of their son.

Larry Scott is separated from his wife, but has Sunday lunch with her and their daughter Jasmine. Jasmine wants to live with him, but he insists that she must stay with her mother. Larry spends the night with his girlfriend Julie. Pedro goes to the Community Law Centre to help his son. He finds that Larry is in great demand, with many others waiting to see him. A Labour Party representative approaches Larry to see if he will stand as a candidate at the next local elections. Larry is clearly interested, although he expresses reservations about the Party's handling of issues relating to black people. Both Larry's partner at the Law Centre and Julie are convinced that Larry would have to make too many compromises to become a politician. Larry has a bruising conversation with a Detective Sergeant who has become completely disillusioned with the justice system.

Ayo-Gidi goes to a detention centre while he awaits trial. When interviewed by Larry's associate, Ayo-Gidi behaves as if he isn't black. It is clear that he is totally confused about his racial heritage. Rejected by his racist white mother, forgotten by his black father Pedro after being denied access and forced to leave his foster parents, his only real interest seems to revolve around Chelsea football club. Illiterate and educationally underdeveloped, he eventually begins to despair in jail.

Jasmine argues with her mother and goes to stay with Larry and Julie. Larry gets Ayo-Gidi out of jail and finds him a place to stay in a hostel. Ayo-Gidi meets some members of his old gang but decides not to join them again.