The Kumars | Comedy chat show returning to television

The Kumars At No 42
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Classic 1990s comedy chat show The Kumars is returning to television, here are the details.

In the 1990s, there were two shows which brought black British comedy into the mainstream. The first was The Real McCoy, a sketch show which launched the television careers of double acts Curtis Walker and Ishmael Thomas, and Llewella Gideon and Collette Johnson. Later series featured Robbie Gee, Eddie Nestor, Judith Jacob, Kulvinder Ghir, Meera Syal and the much missed Felix Dexter, amongst others.

The second series was sketch show Goodness Gracious Me, which premiered on the BBC in 1997. Taking an irreverent look at Asian-British experience, the series is probably best known for the now iconic ‘Going For An English’ sketch, which poked fun at the stereotypical British experience of going for a curry, but flipping races to an Indian family going out for bland English food.

Following the success of the show, the BBC launched The Kumars At No. 42, a hybrid of sitcom and chat show.

To help Sanjeev – played by Sanjeev Bhaskar – achieve his dream of becoming a chat show host, The Kumars including Syal as matriarchal granny Ummi, Vincent Ebrahim as Ashwin and Indira Joshi as Madhuri. Between them, they decide to launch a chat show in a studio they built inside their house.

Most of the material between the characters was scripted, but each week a celebrity guest would knock on the door and then be invited inside for an interview, which was all improvised. Some of the guests who appeared over seven series included Richard E Grant, Graham Norton, Minnie Driver, Ray Winstone and Alice Cooper.

The show was revived in 2014 as The Kumars At No. 42B, which ran for six episodes, and in 2022 Syal reprised her role on the radio for Gossip And Goddesses With Granny Kumar.

A new iteration called Meet The Kumars has now been commissioned by American network Fox.

The official description for the new show reads as follows:

We all remember the Kumars and their only son Sanjeev’s dreams of being a famous chat show host. How his obliging parents bulldozed the garden at their modest family home to build him a TV studio and make his dreams come true, whilst also (along with his unconventional grandmother) insisting on embarrassing him in front of every guest. Yet over the years, the great and the good from the worlds of stage, screen and sport flocked to be on The Kumars’ show. And now, the mischievous family has returned! A little older, more experienced but none the wiser.

It has been confirmed that Bhaskar, Syal and Ebrahim will reprise their roles, with Shaheen Khan joining the cast as Rani, Sanjeev’s new step mum.

A pilot episode is being recorded at BBC Studios in Elstree on Wednesday 13th March, and you can apply for free audience tickets here.

British Comedy Guide

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