News: Nish Kumar, Meera Syal And More Feature In New BBC Season

Comedy features heavily in a forthcoming BBC season The Big British Asian Summer, celebrating the cultural and artistic contribution of Asian Britons.

BBC Two Presents The Big Asian Stand-Up

Presented by comedian and host of BBC Two’s The Mash Report Nish Kumar, The Big Asian Stand-Up will showcase a new wave of Asian comedic talent from the UK and beyond. The shows air across two nights on BBC Two in August.

Filmed in front of a live audience at the iconic City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds, Nish will introduce a mix of hilarious stand-ups who also share an exciting and diverse voice, one that reflects the experience of the second or third generation of immigrants to the UK.

Award-winning acts on the bill include, Tez Ilyas (Man Like Mobeen), Emily Lloyd Saini (BBC Asian Network), Ahir Shah (Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee) alongside many other new comedy faces.

British Asian Film

Introduced by Riz Ahmed and Meera Syal

Riz Ahmed: Road to Englistan

Nikki Bedi interviews one of Britain’s most successful and outspoken actors - Riz Ahmed. He’s currently writing Englistan, a multi-generational drama for BBC Two, and has starred in numerous critically lauded films and TV series including The Reluctant Fundamentalist, HBO’s The Night Of (for which he won an Emmy) - and Rogue One - part of the world-conquering Star Wars franchise.

Nikki meets Riz in Brooklyn where he has been rehearsing a new film. Over a career-spanning interview, they talk about movies, music and politics - as well as the challenges that Riz has overcome.

Riz opens up about his childhood in Wembley as the son of immigrants from Pakistan, and he talks about growing up in a "cultural no-man’s land"; switching identities as he moved between his traditionally Muslim family life, his predominantly white school, and his mates who were into British-Asian street culture.

He discusses working with talent such as Chris Morris, his roles in films such as Nightcrawler and The Night Of, and blockbusters such as Jason Bourne, the Marvel film Venom, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The interview is followed by a screening of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mira Nair’s 2012 film that features Riz’s breakthrough international performance.

Riz Ahmed: Road to Englistan is a 1x30 film for BBC Two. The commissioning Editor is Mark Bell. It will be made by Academy 7, the Executive Producers are Sebastian Barfield and John Durrant and the director is John Das.

Anita and Me... And Me

To introduce her 2002 film Anita And Me, Meera Syal (pictured) journeys back to Essington in the Black Country - the mining village where she grew up. She describes how her childhood here inspired the coming-of-age novel Anita And Me, that she subsequently adapted into a film.

Meera opens up about how she was an outsider, with one foot in the Indian culture of her parents, and the other in Essington’s white, working-class community. She revisits the site of her old house and discusses why she wrote Anita and Me, explaining: “I wanted to record the lives of us - the first generation of British Asian kids born here, and especially the lives of our parents". Now, the story is part of the GCSE curriculum: “That’s monumental for me - we’re here, we contributed.”




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