02 September 2018

Trojan Horse reviewed by Andrew Gilligan — the man who helped report the scandal

A new play distorts the truth of how Muslim hardliners took over schools in Birmingham.

.... Trojan Horse does have a stab at balance: a character representing the head teachers targeted by the plotters gets a small amount of stage time, but her removal is shown as justified. Then there’s the difficult-to-avoid matter that, in leaked WhatsApp messages, Razwan Faraz, Alam’s co-plotter and deputy head of one of the schools, spoke of women’s “perpetual role serving men” and called gay people “satanic” and “animals”. They get round this by saying, well, some Tory MPs voted against gay marriage, you know.

Making excuses for some of the most illiberal elements in society turns out to be strangely popular with the liberal classes. A full house of rapt white faces watched the show with me, and it has, perhaps inevitably, won the Amnesty freedom of expression award.

But documentary it is not. This production’s claim to our attention is its assertion to be true. But what it actually shows, once again, is how tricky and dangerous a genre is documentary-drama. It can end up falling between two stools, neither good journalism nor good drama. [The Times (£)] Read more