White Boy, Black Nanny Review: Supernanny
FIRST CUT – WHITE BOY, BLACK NANNY: Friday 12th March, Channel4, 7.30pm ALERT ME
Mark Rossiter is a white South African man who moved to England at the age of ten, and is now returning to the land of his childhood in the hope of finding his old nanny.
Feeling threatened by the race riots surrounding apartheid, Mark’s English father moved his family back to Blighty a few decades back, leaving his old friends and his beloved nanny behind.
As was common at the time, Mark was raised by his parents and a black domestic worker named Susan with whom he had an emotional bond that never left him.
Mark is desperately searching for her to let her know what she meant to him but doesn’t know her last name and has only a 25 year old picture to show people; she’s a needle in a continent-sized haystack.
His first futile attempt is to show her picture around a petrol station where her uncle used to work. Of course no one recognised her but, not disheartened, Mark continues his seemingly impossible quest.
In visiting his old house, Mark finds that it’s still commonplace for white families to have black domestic workers. Knowing that South Africa is a changed place, he approaches the subject thoughtfully and without judgement but he does imply that he’s not too comfortable with this arrangement anymore.
Hoping to cast a wider net, Mark publishes his only picture of Susan in a newspaper and even talks on the radio about how important it is for him to find her. It’s a very emotional and personal journey for Mark but, as a film, it would have been better to hear stories of other people in similar situations or political viewpoints.
As the show nears its conclusion it seems increasingly likely that he will follow in Bono’s footsteps and fail to find what he’s looking for. But then it happens – get the Kleenex out…