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24 April 2014
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Goodness Gracious Me

Goodness Gracious Me

It was wickedly apt for the creators of this show to choose a title so reminiscent of the stereotypical portrayal of Asians that had blighted the British media for decades.

It started as a radio series and then broke out on television, with four British Asian performers (plus 'token white' Dave Lamb) taking part in sketches that managed to be bred from their own backgrounds and yet relevant and (most importantly) funny to a wider demographic.

Goodness Gracious Me

They set their stall almost immediately with the classic "going for an English" sketch, in which a group of Asians embody the loutish behaviour of lager swilling Brits in an Indian restaurant (one diner asks for something "really bland").

Like the best sketches, it was a simple idea done brilliantly, and their strongest ideas took Asian stereotypes but used them to illustrate comic ideas of universal appeal.

The reason it really worked though, was because it was essentially an exercise in character comedy: each character strongly defined and recognisable enough not to alienate the general viewing public.

Kulvinder Ghir and Nina Wadia as the Kapoors

They included a man who firmly believes everything has its origins in India; Smeeta Smitten, a preening Bollywood reporter, who was instantly recognisable as an irritating embodiment of crass showbiz journalism everywhere; and best of all, the Kapoors (pronounced Coopers), social climbers who were at great pains to deny any of their heritage, desperate to be seen as 100% British.

Goodness Gracious Me had a fine ensemble cast, was generally very well written and boasted a broad range of comedy styles - TV spoofs, slapstick and catchphrases were all present and correct - whilst not shying away from satirical content.

Meera Syal and Nina Wadia

It justly won a number of awards and stopped before it ran out of steam, allowing its core players to go on to deservedly glittering careers elsewhere.

Cast

Meera Syal
performer
Sanjeev Bhaskar
performer
Kulvinder Ghir
performer
Nina Wadia
performer
Dave Lamb
performer

Crew

Meera Syal
writer
Sanjeev Bhaskar
writer
Kulvinder Ghir
writer
Nina Wadia
writer
Dave Lamb
writer
Sharat Sardana
writer
Richard Pinto
writer
Anil Gupta
writer
Nick Wood
director
Anil Gupta
producer
Jon Plowman
executive producer

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