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Storyville: The Road – A Story of Life and Death

Sun Mar 31, 7-8.15pm, BBC4

Kashmiri hotel concierge Iqbal prioritises two things: his beloved wife with whom he regularly communicates via Skype; and gainful employment. Without a job, he reckons, ‘as an outsider, you can just disappear’. Much of the rest of this affecting film proves his theory.

Based on the idea of the A5 – which runs from Marble Arch to the Welsh coast – being a lifeline for new émigrés, it introduces Irish folk singers and labourers, a German-born air hostess (the interior of whose house, rather brilliantly, looks like the inside of a plane), an elderly Austrian lady who fled the Nazis and many more.

They share the dreams and sadnesses common to all of us but also live with a sense of displacement, a feeling of walking a tightrope without much of a safety net. Young singer Keelta’s beautiful Celtic ballads echo through Mark Isaacs’s film and often seem to speak for them all.

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