Goodness Gracious Me
In this episode of The Reunion, Sue MacGregor brings together the creators of the British Asian sketch show Goodness Gracious Me.
The comedy show debuted on BBC Radio 4 in the summer of 1996. It was the first venture conceived, written and performed by British Asians. The title 'Goodness Gracious Me' was inspired by the Peter Sellers song from the film The Millionairess, in which he plays an Indian doctor.
The series poked fun at British and Indian stereotypes and at the tensions between Asian culture and modern British life. One of the most iconic sketches - 'Going for an English' - featured a group of Asians going out for an English meal and mispronouncing everything on the menu. This reversing of experiences was a hallmark of the show.
There was a growing confidence amongst a new generation of British Asians in the 1990s. Asian culture was at the forefront of the youth scene and there was a feeling amongst many in broadcasting that it was time the Asian community had their own TV series. At the BBC, multi-cultural programming was becoming integral to the schedule and yet doubts remained about whether mainstream audiences would tap into something which focussed on one ethnicity.
However after an award winning run on the radio, Goodness Gracious Me moved to BBC 2 where it continued to attract huge audiences for three more series, giving birth to a new genre - "Asian Comedy".
Sue is joined around the table by: Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar, who wrote and starred in the series; Anil Gupta, the producer who first pitched the idea to the BBC; Jon Plowman, then the BBC's head of comedy and entertainment and Richard Pinto the comedy writer who helped develop the idea.
Producer: Sarah Cuddon
Series Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.