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2 September 2014
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The Kumars at No. 42

The Kumars at No. 42

Bringing friends home to meet the family is always a worry.

...but when the "friends" include Jerry Hall, Melvyn Bragg, Donnie Osmond and Stephen Fry and your family includes overprotective mother Madhuri, pompous paterfamilias Ashwin and mischief-making, lustpot grandma Sushila it's a total nightmare.

The Kumars was an indirect spin-off from Goodness, Gracious Me devised by its star Sanjeev Bhaskar, along with partner Meera Syal and executive producer Anil Gupta, as a way of adding life to the increasingly tired chat-show by placing it in the heart of a family sitcom.


The "sit" of the show saw Bhaskar cast as Sanjeev Kumar, stay-at-home scion of the Kumar family, which has decided to get one-up on the neighbours by turning the front room into a TV studio, allowing Sanjeev to invite leading celebs over to be interviewed.

Unfortunately, the Kumars refuse to leave Sanjeev to his task, with the result that guests found themselves having to field his questions while at the same time fending off vast plates of pakoras from mum, "good advice" from dad and (in the case of the male guests) forceful sexual advances from granny.

A mix of sitcom, scripted chat, genuine interview and occasional improvisation (particularly from Syal who played her role with obvious relish), on paper the Kumars should never have worked. Luckily it was played out in a studio, rather than on paper, and was an immediate success.

The format also spawned several adaptations overseas, including Greeks on the Roof in Australia, The Ortegas on Fox in the US, Ghaffar at Doraji in Pakistan and Batiwalla House No 43 in India. 

Without the creators of the original format, however, many of these series proved very short-lived, though repeats of the original are still shown across the globe.

Cast

Sanjeev Bhaskar
Sanjeev Kumar
Meera Syal
Granny
Vincent Ebrahim
Ashwin Kumar
Indira Joshi
Madhuri Kumar

Crew

Sanjeev Bhaskar
writer
Richard Pinto
writer
Sharat Sardana
writer
Lissa Evans
director
Dominic Brigstocke
director
Lissa Evans
producer
Richard Pinto
producer
Sharat Sardana
producer
Helen Williams
producer
Denise O'Donoghue
executive producer
Jimmy Mulville
executive producer
Anil Gupta
executive producer

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