Naomi Ackie and Florence Pugh
in the film "Lady Macbeth"
"British period drama as a cordoned-off zone of whiteness may chime with current fantasies of a country unpopulated by immigrants or foreigners.
Lady Macbeth’s director, William Oldroyd, observed a similar reaction to the actors of colour in his film: “People have said to me: ‘It wasn’t really like that in that period.’ And I say: ‘How do you know? Really, how do you know?’” His research suggested many well-to-do households of the era would have had black servants, and there was a significant population of African-descended Britons in the northeast in the 19th century. The region was more sympathetic to abolitionist causes than west-coast cities such as Liverpool or Bristol, which had vested interests in slavery. “That area of England was far more diverse than we have been led to believe."
A lot of people make assumptions, and those assumptions are usually based on films they’ve seen already.”