Rufus Jones hopes Syrian refugee show reminds people of ‘international responsibilities’

Rufus Jones attending the Stan and Ollie Premiere as part of the BFI London Film Festival at the Cineworld Cinema in London.
Rufus Jones attending the Stan and Ollie Premiere as part of the BFI London Film Festival at the Cineworld Cinema in London.

Rufus Jones has said he hopes his new show about a Syrian refugee who sneaks into the UK in a car boot reminds people “that we have international responsibilities”.

The actor both wrote and stars in Channel 4’s Home, which follows a man named Sami (Youssef Kerkour) who ends up living with couple Peter (Jones) and Katy (Rebekah Staton) after hiding in their car as they return home from France.

Discussing whether he wanted the series to challenge people’s opinions, Jones said: “I don’t want to sound too grand in my ambitions for this thing, but the words that kept coming up through the production were ‘tolerance’ and ’empathy’ and they were the two words we kept returning to and I think maybe in the month where we possibly leave Europe, a reminder that those two aspects are important in life…”

The star, 43, went on: “It’s probably a gentle reminder, if the show can remind people that we have international responsibilities, just as we’re about to up anchor and drift into the great unknown, then yes, that would be my ambition.”

Jones wanted to pen a comedy about the subject because “you do things in a comedy that you possibly can’t do in a drama”.

He said: “I got writing on this in late 2015 when the refugee crisis, particularly for the Syrian refugees, which felt like it was at its apex or what felt like its apex.

“And I started reading some interviews, I think The Guardian, about British families who had opened their doors to Syrian refugees who had made it here as the ‘refugees welcome here’ project and ‘refugees at home’ initiative.

“These interviews are very moving but within these interviews are shiny moments of comedy, humorous moments that were about culture clash, but were also about what we expected of refugees, as opposed to who they actually were as individuals.”

Jones said telling the story in a comedy was also important because “the thing about comedy is detail, when it works well, and what we weren’t getting were detailed stories of refugees”.

The six-part series starts on Channel 4 on Tuesday March 5.

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