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Ngozi Onwurah's landmark Shoot the Messenger on BFI Blu-ray in March

15 March 2022

A true landmark in the history of Black British film, Shoot the Messenger, a 2006 BBC Films production directed by Ngozi Onwurah (Welcome II the Terrordome), is presented on Blu-ray for the first time on 28 March by the BFI. Special features include three short films by the director and an illustrated booklet.

After reading a report that Black pupils from inner city schools are being failed by the education system, IT consultant Joe Pascale (David OyelowoSelma) becomes a teacher at a secondary school in South London with the aim of challenging the system to break the biased culture. Joe's use of discriminatory methods to ensure Black students are given extra tuition over their white counterparts and his outdated use of humiliation leads to rebellion among his pupils, one of whom falsely accuses him of assault. Publicity and media attention follow Joe who finds himself branded a racist, and it is only after a tumultuous journey of self-discovery that he comes to the understanding that race and cultural identity are merely a state of mind.

Shoot the Messenger Blu-ray cover art

Shoot the Messenger will be released on UK Blu-ray on 28 March 2022 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.


  • Three short films by Ngozi Onwurah: The Body Beautiful (1990, 24 mins): an examination of the real-life relationship between the director and her mother, Madge
  • Flight of the Swan (1992, 12 mins): a young girl leaves her Nigerian village for the cold, harsh landscape of England
  • White Men are Cracking Up (1994, 20 mins): traces the last day in the life of a white detective, obsessed with a Black 'street goddess'
  •  Who We Are: Filmmaker Forum with Akua Gyamfi, Fiona Lamptey, Stella Nwimo and Delia René (2020, 66 mins): four women creatives explore Black British film in a series curated by We Are Parable.
  •  *** First pressing only*** Illustrated booklet with essays by Angela Moneke, Dwain Brandy, Ann Ogidi, Jan Asante and Grace Barber-Plentie; credits and notes on the special features

Here's a clip: