Can television succeed where the politicians have failed? The producers of a new Channel 4 series, Make Bradford British, which starts this week, set themselves the ambitious challenge of doing just that, bringing together the people of the notoriously divided Yorkshire city.

Bradford has become wearily accustomed to being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The protests over the publication of The Satanic Verses in the late 80s and the riots that engulfed the city in the summer of 2001 both fuelled a perception that Bradford was a city dangerously divided along racial and religious grounds and whose citizens lived parallel lives.

In Make Bradford British, eight people, all of whom live in the city but come from very different backgrounds, were asked to live together. To select the participants, more than 100 people in the city were asked to sit the UK citizenship test, answering questions such as "what percentage of the British population is under the age of 19?"

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