By Greg Dawson
In the first episode of the new BBC Documentary ‘Hometown: a Killing’ Journalist Mobeen Azhar returns to his home town of Huddersfield to report on the death of Yassar Yaqub. Yassar, a known drug dealer in the area, was shot by the police 2017 sparking protests across West Yorkshire calling “Justice 4 Yaqub”.
Azhar allows the documentary to take on an investigative style, following each and every lead he picks up while talking to members of the Pakistani community in Huddersfield. His experience growing up in Birkby gives great insight into Huddersfield’s past and plants him right in the centre of the tight-knit Birkby community, which is shown to be a hotspot for gang violence.
At first, the film drags its feet as it makes some strange stylistic choices while setting the scene but quickly picks up the pace as Azhar delves deeper into the case, contacting past family friends who are willing to talk about the link between violence and drugs in the area.
The show touches on very raw and possibly uncomfortable scenes showing a child as young as thirteen speak in knowledge about the drug-related violence in Huddersfield. At thirteen Azhar says he remembers “Huddersfield was just another town that rarely made it to the news” And now it looks “like a war zone.”
After the first two episodes, the show is naturally branching out into the topic of youth and crime in West Yorkshire, the investigative style breaking down a complex community issue into a digestible documentary. The first instalment has only scratched the surface but creates enough intrigue to keep viewers hooked for next weeks instalment.
Speaking to locals in Huddersfield about the show, here is what they had to say:
Sophia, 30, of Birkby, said: “Many of the comments on the program were accurate, however, we already know these things go on and [Mobeen] and the BBC could have portrayed it much better.
“I live in the community and we know these things go on but please, leave the sensationalism out of it”.
Yuffie Seymour, 47, of Fartown, said: “I’m upset. If Huddersfield is your hometown why would you want to amplify a topic that happens all over the country and put it on one place?
“The production was slick and I’m sure it makes for good viewing from an outside perspective, but to me, all it really managed to do was to make a whole area and community of good hardworking people look bad based on the actions of a few”.
'Hometown: A Killing' – Kirklees Local TV Review
By Greg Dawson