Returning to BBC Four this month 'A Very British History' is a collection of stories of 20th and 21st Century Britain through the eyes of minority communities across the country.

Instead of being fronted by schooled television presenters, these programmes are presented by people with strong personal connections to the communities and journeys featured. Their families have lived through the highs and lows of setting up a family home in modern Britain.

British Bangladeshis
BBC Four, Wednesday 26 February, BBC Four, 9pm

Aminul Hoque came to Britain in 1980 as a three-year-old from the young nation of Bangladesh. 

He explores why thousands of families settled here in the 1970s and 80s, and how they faced hardships and racism while building a new life in Britain.  

Drawing on rich film archive from the period, meeting those who settled in London and Luton, and through his own experiences growing up in East London, Aminul tells the stories of Bengalis who worked hard, fought racism and made their homes here over the course of two key decades.

As his children grow up in the UK, Aminul wants them to know about their own Bangladeshi roots.  He takes the family back to where he and his dad came from – his home village in Sylhet province. Now it’s up to his kids to decide if they want to keep the links with their homeland; but as British Bangladeshis.

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Birmingham Irish I Am
BBC Four, Wednesday 12 February, BBC Four, 9pm

Musician Angela Moran tells the story of the Birmingham Irish from the post-war years to the present day. Angela’s grandparents were amongst thousands of Irish to move to Britain’s second city in the 1950s.

This programme looks at the Birmingham Irish through the memories of local people and rare archive footage. She hears about life during the 50s and 60s. Angela also looks at the impact the 1974 terrorist Pub Bombings had on the city – an act of unimaginable horror where 21 people were killed and 220 injured. There were consequences for the local Irish community: the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled and people hid their identity. Angela also shares her own experiences of growing up in the nineties when being Irish was fashionable and something to be celebrated.

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The British Chinese
BBC Four, Wednesday 19 February, BBC Four, 9pm

The history of the British Chinese community told with rich archive and personal stories.

British-Born Chinese vlogger Shu Lin explores the history of the Chinese community in the UK from the 1950s through to the present day.

With film and television archive, and first-hand accounts she discovers how Chinese migrants transformed Britain’s bland post-war dining scene. From restaurants to TV cooking shows the eating habits of a nation were changed forever. She finds out how an area of Soho became the vibrant Chinatown we see today and traces how the community has transformed from relying heavily on the restaurant trade, to achieving outstanding business and educational success.

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Whatever happened to the Boat People?
BBC Four, Wednesday 4 March, BBC Four, 9pm

Therapist Rachel Nguyen tells the story of the Vietnamese Boat People who came to Britain in the 1970s and 80s. British-born Rachel, whose parents fled post-war Vietnam, discovers how a new community came to exist in Britain when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher eventually agreed to take in 10,000 Vietnamese refugees.

Scattered around the country, thanks to a controversial ‘dispersal policy’, the new community became almost invisible – even to this day many in the UK might not realise Britain has a Vietnamese community.

Through meeting people who lived through these events and by accessing rare archive footage and government papers, Rachel learns more about the community she was brought up in, and the country into which her parents and the other Boat People arrived. Whilst they faced huge difficulties there was also kindness from local people.  She goes on to explore how life in Britain has changed for Vietnamese people of her generation.