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A Very British History

Series 2

Whatever Happened to the Boat People?

Duration: 59 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC One WestLatest broadcast: on BBC Four

Therapist Rachel Nguyen tells the story of the Vietnamese Boat People who came to Britain in the 70s 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 following 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. Show less

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