Joanna Lumley once applied for Indian passport as a protest

Joanna Lumley once applied for Indian passport as a protest
Joanna Lumley once applied for Indian passport as a protest
The star was born in Srinagar (Pics: Getty)

Joanna Lumley once applied for an Indian passport as a protest against how the UK treated the Windrush generation.

The 74-year-old star – who was born in Srinagar in north-west India in 1946 – has opened up about the point of view she brings as she goes across Britain for her new series Home Sweet Home – Travels In My Own Land.

She visits the port of Tilbury in Essex – where she first set foot on British soil – which is the spot where the HMT Empire Windrush docked with more than 500 passengers from Caribbean islands.

However, many of the Windrush generation found it tough to build a new life, and nine years ago some faced deportation due to a chance in immigration law.

Although the government apologised in 2018, Lumley is still shocked by how the events unfolded.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jonny Birch/BAFTA/REX (10098961bo) Joanna Lumley attends the BAFTA Film Gala, held at The Savoy 72nd British Academy Film Awards Gala, Inside, The Savoy, London, UK - 08 Feb 2019 Annual gala held in the lead up to the British Academy Film Awards raising money for BAFTA's Learning and New Talent initiatives to support young people from all backgrounds to enter the film, television and games industries.
Joanna has opened up after travelling the UK for her new show (Credits: Jonny Birch/BAFTA/REX)

After walking down a corridor lined with images of the British Caribbeans who first arrived, she told the Radio Times: ‘Of course I was aware of the Windrush story, only as an observer.

‘What really resonated with me in the corridor of photographs was just how high the hopes were of people coming here, longing for a welcome that they never got. It hurt them like a burning iron. How appalling!’

This disgust led to Lumley taking a stand by applying for an Indian passport when she was in her 20s.

She added: ‘Back in the 60s, I applied for an Indian passport. I was affronted by the way people were treated.’

Joanna Lumley once applied for an Indian passport: 'I was affronted by how people were treated by Britain' (embg - schedule for 5am) Pics: Getty
She thinks the UK will cope with Brexit (Photo: Getty)

Joanna – who voted to remain – has also weighed in on Brexit, and how the UK will now cope outside the EU.

‘All these rules for our country are only 40 years old,’ she said. ‘The people on the continent will miss us and we’ll miss them. They adore us going over there and they love to come here.

‘They love Savile Row, the theatre. We love the cheese, the wine, the arts, the music. Nothing’s changed.’

And she is similarly optimistic about the state of Britain today, particularly on the topic of whether her new show gave her a sense of a ‘united kingdom’.

She insisted: ‘Yes, I did. In a weird way, our differences make us stronger. We might be squabbling, fractious, humorous, with old scores and revenges.

‘But we’re an extraordinary boiling pot of differences. Because we’re islanders, we’re bound together.’

Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home – Travels in My Own Land starts on February 2 at 8pm on ITV.

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Author: Alistair McGeorge