sun 21/04/2019

Welcome to Lagos, BBC Two | reviews, news & interviews

Welcome to Lagos, BBC Two

Welcome to Lagos, BBC Two

Lagos seen in a whole new light in the first of this eye-opening series

Heavy load in Lagos: a woman carries a whole cow head away from the marketBBC Pictures
You might think that an hour-long documentary mainly shot around a slaughter yard and rubbish dump might not make for particularly agreeable television, but trust me, this opener of a three-part series is by turns amusing, life-enhancing and gripping. Producer Will Anderson and director Gavin Searle have done an excellent job of getting under the surface of one of the worlds great megacities. A place that in the space of 50 years has grown from a population of about 300,000 to 16 million today.

Share this article

Comments

It was mixed feelings for me seeing the piece on Lagos. It gave me a clear picture of the potential future of the average Lagosian if the present decay continues. A higher percentage of Lagosian live like this or near to it. Truth be told, if you attended a good school, live in a structurally sound house with running water and functional sanitary facilities, you are in the minority in Lagos. Eric and Joseph are a current reality and a fair representation of the growing majority who have to struggle so hard to earn a living. There is deep decay in Lagos even in Ikoyi, VI, and the fancy estates of Ajah because no matter how 'rich' inhabitants of these places are, they are still surrounded by the poor shanty areas, faced with horrific traffic, bad roads and the poor power situation. Interestingly, the documentary gave me renewed pride to be called Nigerian – for the strength of character, communal spirit and dignity in work shown by these men. Yes there are always 2 sides to every coin but they work together to give a full story.

I watched this programme with interest, being a white English woman and having had the priviledge of visiting Lagos with Nigerian friends. I did not appreciate the romantic slant of the programme, including opera music whilst watching fellow humans dig through rubbish to make a living. The relentless positivity and apparent lack of self-pity of the individuals in this first part of the series must be commended. I am sorry to state the obvious, the people featured are terribly poor and went to great lengths to make their lives appear better, because they have dignity and ambition. Some of the commentary and background music was innappropriate, nearly suggesting in places that their life was choice.

Interesting programme. It could have done with some balance as it seems that they will only be focussing on the dumps and slums. Why could'nt the programme show the other nice areas in lagos as most people watching from England would view lagos as a rubbish place. At least there are some nice areas in lagos

I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary. it revealed a reality true to millions of Lagosian (and Nigerians). One side of the story is always shown by Nollywood producers. This is another side to the story...ANOTHER REALITY.

i too was left with mixed feeling by the programme. parts of the translation for the subtitles were wrong, the sound design was condescending, choice of music all wrong, they didnt even tell us where we could buy erics song if we liked it, and also there was no credit given to the camera work by either of the subjects. yet again as people of minority should we just be happy that we are even on the television, regardless of the way we are represented.... i hope they show the polo club, the yacht club, ilesha, banana island and the good work that lagos state govermnent has done to improve lagos aesthetically. They should definitely sack the narrator as well. Another program made fot the people in crouch end and chiswick to watch, have a giggle at some black people, feel the struggle, then thank god for david cameron or gordon brown.....

Just a quick reference to the comment, ” But I suspect it was hard work, charm and talent - rather than God – that, by the end of the documentary, has given Eric at least the beginnings of a happy ending" I assume by saying that you are an "educated white athiest" who thinks that you know better than the "poor stupid but brave african man" who puts a smile on his face? If he says its God, then please do not disrespect that by assuming you know better than he does. As everyone is scrambling for reasons for the depth of character and (ooh shock horror) humanity in these people, if they tell you it comes from a loving God who despite the craziness of this world, is present and loving and supporting, do not dare patronise them by suggesting otherwise "educated black-nigerian christian"

I want to reply to Keji's message...can you be a lil positve and stop being negative....this article was based on what is called reality. You called yourself a good christian right...try and read what you have written and you will come to a conclusion yourself that it makes no sense what-so-ever...credit to the writter...and keji or whatever your name is, don't bring religion, racism or hatred to this topic....just try and view it as something positive and maybe be positive once in your life..........

I'll like to comment on those of you saying the reporter this, the director that....Can we just stop being Nigerian (people with stupid mentality of life, idealogist) and look at the real thing behind this show...if you so dislike the show, why can't you phone NTA or AIT to show you a better program with good music and the perfect production....Again the setting of this documentary was a dump but the people were not in the dumps, they were aspiring, amazing people who were optimistic...honest and friendly....they had a sense of purpose that was not encumbered with senseless fanaticism and religious stupidity...."they were the salt of the earth".... People can so easily be blind-sided by the setting and miss the more serious message of people who are resourceful, able, diligent, orderly, respectful, responsible and successful...

Can I just add an outsider's right-on comment and say how refreshing it is that so many Africans/Nigerians have bothered to contribute? It shows, at least, a healthy sense of debate rather than just mud-slinging. I get the same impression from the World Service, where for a non-sporty person like me, even listening to the football programmes is interesting because people have such interesting things to say about the African league. Keep it going.

As a Congolose I enjoyed this programme on Lagos. I have many Nigerians friends from Lagos who failed to tell me about this part of their town, talking only about Nollywood movies, Nigerian music shown on MTV, the oil, the bright town city, great buildings and Stock exchange. It is acknowledged that Nigeria is a powerful country, not just in Africa. The strengh, the hope and the ambition especially the lack of self pity of all the people depicted in the documentary is really inspiring!!! a lot of people in other african countries tend to "sleep" and to hope that their family or the governement will provide for them. However it is sad to realise that some Nigerian people like my own friends did not even know about such places like Makoko or the slums. India is a great power and also have slums. I just hope that these programmes will remind Nigerian government that there is still a lot to achieve in terms of decent homes for inhabitants. Let's hope that they do not take it like a big embarrassement to be erased by trucks.

what does it matter what the English or anyone else think of Lagos, why does the programme need to show all the " nice " parts of Lagos. This is not meant to be a tourist guide to Lagos it is meant to show how some Lagosians /Nigerians are surviving and doing it well through adversity - which is something as a Nigerian or African should make you prouder than any sprawling skyscraper or designer beach

welcome to lagos in an interesting eye catching documentary. Coming from africa seen but never experience this kind of life you would never think that inside the slums, are cinemas, hairdresser, shops a whole mall to say the least. The people are happy with the little they have and still have hope of their future life. This goes to show life is what you make it to be, joy doesnt come with money, but the people around you. People often say " i am broke" BUT ARE YOU REALLY ??. If given a chance i would help esther with the little i have.

Yes it is a lopsided report, faulted because its title 'Welcome to Lagos' give an impression it is a total report about Lagos. However, I wont completely banish the documentary because it is still real. Eric in the dump summarized it, and in fact made the most important point- God, hope in God and faith in God sustains a typical African; the most important element of life that is missing in the lives of the Frustrated holier-than-thou atheists who made the programme. Life is tough in Africa, but they wont tell you that the suicide, depression and mental breakdown rate in Europe still is higher than in Africa! Reason is that a void remains in the life of an average European which no one but God can fill. Typical example is Howard Male (write of this article) who thinks it is "hard work, charm and talent - rather than God" that puts smile on faces. This is a typical Eurpoean state of mind that results in frustration and depression!! It further goes to show that Howard, contrary to his claims LEARNT NOTHING FROM THE DOCUMENTARY!!! He like a typical colonialist whose father told he is superior to everyone else is more interested in more degrading documentaries about other cities forgetting that EVEN IN LONDON THERE ARE SLUMS!!!!

Welcome to Lagos is a documentary which portrays Lagos in a rather bad light. Even though it shows the sort of abject poverty people living in the slums experience, it also shows the resilience and the will power of people living in that region of the world. I wonder why positive aspects where not documented (from the title)? That been said, we must not forget there are slums in all major cities of the world and Lagos's doesn't come a hundreth close to the worst ones. There has been a lot of suggetions requesting me to inform "Maddy Allen" the Head of Production, BBC Scotland to run another documentary on Lagos state and the new capital Abuja showing not just the slums but also the developments and infrastructures.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters