Tonight saw the first episode of Citizen Khan air on BBC One, the show is the first Asian sitcom for the BBC. Created by radio presenter (BBC Asian Network) turned comedian Adil Ray, Citizen Khan has been billed as 'the seventies sitcom they forgot to make'.
Mostly filmed in front of a live studio audience, Citizen Khan is the first sitcom to do so in Media City UK, Salford. Citzen Khan follows the Khan family who live in Sparkhill, Birmingham - 'the capital of British Pakistan' and is a return to the true sitcom form and is full of old school jokes such as parking his infamous yellow Mercedes in a disabled spot then walking off limping.
Self-appointed 'Community Leader' Mr Khan, played by Adil Ray is at the heart of the sitcom. In the first episode the first time we see Mr Khan he comes into the living room carrying two big clear bags full of toilet rolls. He had bought them because they were, and I quote, "on special discount from cash and carry", the first of many jokes that reference Asian family culture.
Other somewhat 'stereotypical' jokes include Mrs Khan wiping down the plastic sofa covers and Mr Khan watering down the fairy liquid so that it lasts longer, therefore saving money. It goes without saying that these jokes are very funny and one that British and British Pakistani audiences alike can laugh at which is what I love about Comedy. Again showing a return to the good old sitcom humour we're used to.
One of my favourite lines from episode one comes from Mr Khan himself, who asks his own family as well as the Malik's whether or not they watched News at 10 as "seven times Pakistan was mentioned... twice in a good way".Full of hilarious one-liners and great mannerisms Mr Khan is a true comic character that will leave many an audience member laughing, and it's no wonder he was given a sitcom all to himself. Constantly put into situations he can't control, the first episode sees Mr Khan forget to book the Mosque for his daughter's wedding despite already telling his family that it was booked and sorted ages ago - awkward.
However, Mr Khan isn't the only reason to tune in. Far from it, he has a great supporting cast including his wife, Mrs Khan, played by Shobu Kapoor who for those of you old enough to remember used to play Gita in EastEnders.We are first introduced to Mrs Khan as she is washing down the plastic covers on the sofa ready for her future son-in-law's family to visit and an unfortunate conversation with Mr Khan leave him calling her 'cheap'. She loves to think of her husband as a "successful local businessman"and takes pride in keeping the house clean and tidy as you never know who might pop by.
Mr Khan makes no effort in hiding the fact that his favourite daughter is his youngest, Alia played by Bhavna Limbachia. And as Mr Khan reminds us "first the worst second the best", after all whilst all we see Alia do is texting she manages to pass it off as 'praying to Mecca' as "there's an app for it now isn't it?"
Despite a bout of 'rule breaking' that we witness, Mr Khan believes her daughter is "a good girl, sitting somewhere doing her homework or a prayer or some such thing" when in fact she is in the kitchen reading a gossip magazine ready to put on her Hijab on and pretend to be reading the Qur'an when she here's her father approaching.
Mr Khan's other daughter is Shazia (Maya Sondhi) who is about to get married to Amjad Malik, played by great comedy newcomer Abdullah Afzal (Lunch Monkeys).In episode one, Mr Khan forgetting to book the mosque seems to effect the young couple more than one would have thought leading to the Malik's calling off the wedding, surely not forever? I mean, this is only the first episode.Without giving too much away, the majority of the series concerns itself with Shazia & Amjad's wedding plans. From the venue to the honeymoon and everything in between. The question is will they last to the end of the series? Will they ever get married?And a sitcom wouldn't be a sitcom without one or two things going wrong now would it?
Also making an appearance My Family and BT Adverts favourite, Kris Marshall who plays Dave, the white and ginger manager of the local Sparkhill, Jamiya Mosque. Dave has many a run in with Mr Khan, oh... and queue manny a ginger joke.
Having been lucky enough to watch most of the series already I can safely say the humour doesn't stop at episode one. Episode two sees Mr Khan's mother-in-law come to stay and Mr Khan is left to look after Nanny and take her on a shopping trip to Marks & Spencer. But surely things won't go that smoothly? Tune in next week (3rd September) to find out.
Episode three (10th September) features more wedding hilarity as with only his rainy-day money to spend Mr Khan finds it difficult to fulfil Mrs Khan's needs for a holiday let alone pay for Shazia's honeymoon. Mr Khan also offers Amjad some great advice on how to be intimate with women, "If you want to be intimate with a woman then just text her. That's what I do."So, final thoughts on Citzen Khan - in two words 'loved it'. Great humour, great characters and great situations.
Mr Khan is such a believable character that the situations he finds himself in seem all the more real. Maybe this is why @therealmrkhan (Yes, Mr Khan is indeed on Twitter) describes Citizen Khan in his bio as "BBC call it sitcom I say it is documentary" - and to a certain degree I have to agree with him... although it is a bloody good sitcom as well. And one which I hope performs well in the ratings and at the very least gets recommissioned for a second and third series.
Mr Khan isn't the only person you should follow on Twitter. I recommend that you follow the shows creator, and the man behind Mr Khan, Adil Ray - @adilray. He often has an opinion and loves to retweet Citizen Khan fans.