Have you ever seen a Pole on British television? Poles are the biggest immigrant group in Britain, numbering between 900,000 and one million, so you might think they would be all over the TV. But no, there are hardly any. There is a Polish character on Coronation Street, who might turn out to be a sex-trafficker. There was also a Polish character on EastEnders, although the actor who played him left the show to become the Pole on Coronation Street.
As a British person living in Poland, I have spoken to many Poles who have lived in the UK. They have told me eye-widening stories about exploitation, crime, poverty and xenophobia, but also about dedication, luck, success and self-discovery. One friend worked as a private barman for a gangster; another went from being homeless to serving celebrities in one of London’s trendiest restaurants.