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29 October 2014

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    Sarfraz Manzoor
    Sarfraz Manzoor

    Luton, actually

    The spotlight will be on growing up in Luton during a night of programmes on BBC2 looking at real life stories of Pakistanis living in Britain.

    Luton Actually, written and presented by Sarfraz Manzoor, tells the tale of his own experience as a Pakistani Brit. He arrived in Luton in spring 1974 with family.

    At that time, Luton was celebrated for two things - an airport that was the butt of national jokes and the Vauxhall factory which provided unskilled work for his father and many of the town's immigrants.

    "I was approached by the director to make the documentary," explained Sarfraz who is a columnist for The Guardian as well as a writer and broadcaster. "I didn't want to do it to begin with as I thought it would be something really obvious about Muslims, Pakistanis and Luton being really grim.


    "But then we decided to make a programme that was funny, entertaining and surprising to what people would think it's about."

    The 33-year-old added: "My story is similar to many others -growing up in an Asian area, then moving to a more white area and then moving out of Luton.  It's a story that relates not just to Pakistanis.

    "It's about Luton but not really specifically as it could be relevant to lots of places and people's experiences of growing up in one place and then moving away. I talk to people who have stayed in Luton and how their experiences are different to mine."


    Pakistani, Actually will go out as part of the special night of programming on Saturday 5 March. Other programmes include British Paki and Proud, which looks at the identity and debate around the word Paki; Who Wants To Be A Mullah? which looks at Islam and they way it's practised in Britain today and Atta Boy, a portrait of actor Atta Yaqub and the dilemmas he faced to please everyone and fulfil his ambition to act.

    Tommy Nagra, executive producer of Pakistani, Actually, said: "These documentaries provide just a snapshot of contemporary life among British Pakistanis - a community who are often misunderstood, neglected or stereotyped. They are 'slices of life' and offer a revealing insight into just some of the real-life experiences of Pakistanis living in Britain."

    last updated: 25/02/05
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    trevor smith
    You can download the entire series of 'Pakistani Actually' from UKNova, The following episodes are available in the download: -Luton Actually, written and presented by Sarfraz Manzoor -British Paki and Proud, which looks at the identity and debate around the word Paki; -Who Wants To Be A Mullah? which looks at Islam and they way it's practised in Britain today -Atta Boy, a portrait of actor Atta Yaqub and the dilemmas he faced to please everyone and fulfil his ambition to act. Hope this helps! :)

    Mehvish Rehman
    i think that pakistani actually was really good, i enjoyed watching it and it made a big difference. thanks 4 makin it and id like to see it again. more plz

    when i watched pakistani actually i thought it would just be looking over how pakistani's came into Britain and the history and all that, some people may think it did just that, which it did but the programe also looked in at the much deeper aspects and got me thinking about how i fit into society. i think the programme delt with the issue really well, seeing as it was such a sensitive one. GOOD STUFF!

    lindsey hoggarth
    excellent. tackled sensitive issues brilliantly. an eye opening programme for white communities on how ethnic minorities fell living in Britain. keep up the good work!!

    kamran meah
    a very good programme and i would in the future for the executives in the bbc to make a programme about bangladeshis. God bless you

    I watched the programmed eventhough it was very informative, alot of issues were most likly delibratly looked over, and not properly researched, e.g the word 'paki' only came into existance after the creation of Pakistan, that impossibile as any urdu/hindi dictionary published BEFORE the indepedance of Pakistan will include that word, and anybody with even basic knowledge of the urdu/hindi/bangali/punjbi will confirm the literal meaning of the word is CLEAN. Also the element of the role of the mosques that was discussed, it was very diffrent to the normal image of mosques thats portrayed on Prime Televison, as it didn't give any credit to the extremist, unfortunetly the programme still wasn't fair, as the person judging the role of the mosques was as he admitted himself an uneducated muslim, and not practsing muslims, he had very little if any knowledge at all of islam, so why was he allowed to pass judgment on the role of mosques? why wasn't the spritual side of the mosques not shown, for example how many non muslim have converted to Islam due to the outstanding service being provided from the mosque, i dare say my views won't get published, but i'm sure someone will read them, and remeber one day you will get asked about this deception. Thank you

    It was great mann do more of the those types of programmes and i just wanna tell you that i am a young British Packistani women and i dont get affended by people callin us packy's its like us calling Australians Aussies And people from liverpool scoutsers so dont take it affensive. Also i didnt know how much sh*t are elders had to go through with the brits when they first came here it tought me alot that so thanks.sorry if my spellings wrong

    aneesa hussain
    i would like to say that when i watched this programme i thought it was good but still i think that it could have been better in terms of the issues that were discussed

    Nida Manzoor
    When I watched the programme my parents were out so I was watching it alone. I'm 15 years old and am also a Pakistani Brit however,my experience as young pakistani seems to be different in a number of ways to those older than myself. Anyway all I wanted to say was that I learned a lot from the programme, about what some of the elder pakistanis had to go through. I always had a vague idea but now its a little more clear. I enjoyed watching it..umm...thanks.

    ying chow
    It was a an intresting proggrame and thought provoking too as to how people percive other cultures and diversities

    andrew charlesworth
    This was an excellent programme and should be made available for teaching purposes I certainly would use it to teach ethnicity and place in UK today. Any chance of a copy?

    well done BBC. More programmes like this please!

    I really enjoyed the documentary, we need more of these programmes to educate the ignorant in our society.

    Saira Mohammed
    I just wanted to congratulate the BBC for an absolutely incredible and totally inspiring documentary. I too am a Pakistani Brit, aged 22 and have been finding difficulty identifying with both my Pakistani culture/ roots whilst being a British citizen. The programme effectively highlighted with good background knowledge and case studies the issues behind identity, – for example the notion of acceptance from both English peers and what is accepted with in the Pakistani tradition and culture. I found personal comfort being able to relate the subject matters raised and really appreciated the personal angle of which Sarfraz Manzoor documented his experience in my near-by town of Luton. I am currently based in a northern university involved in a creative course which is not classed as a ‘typical’ degree for a Pakistani girl – however I too was more involved with my English peer s as child – so found it interesting to see others with a similar background are able to participate in creative avenues in life and direct an alternate positive message. It was immensely refreshing to see such examples of creativity portrayed– as depicted by Atta Yoqub, who I felt proactively challenged set views and opinions via mainstream media to a larger audience, which was not only courageous and stimulating but also extremely inspiring . keep up the exciting work!

    It was really good!

    sabreen Rehmat, Nottingham
    What an intersting group of programmes. This is what i believe we are really paying our licence fees for. Come on BBC we want to see more like it.


    Gaynor Smith
    Really enjoyed this program which gave an insight into the culture and struggles of Pakistanis in the UK. I was particularly interested in the illustrations of community life and comments regarding the views of the vast majority of Pakistanis as opposed to a few extremists. One cannot help but wonder if the media does not have some purpose in continually emphasising the differences between cultures instead of the things we have in common.

    i posted a note which wasn't put up obviously because i wan't praising this program. The program was ok, but didn't really show anything about the way Asians and whites in Luton really interact. The mayor was seen as really clueless on it all and even Sarfraz Manzoor seemed to have somewhat a rose tuinted view of Luton's Racial harmony. I could relate a lot to what he was saying about immigrant families full stop as I am from one also however a far more interesting documentry could have been made about the topics he brushed upon. I felt this was more a documentry about Sarfraz himself, also not a real representative of any Lutonian let alone a Muslim Lutonian. He seemed to come from money and went onto further education elsewhere, whereas the problems with racism in the town mainly are amongst those who have lived here their whole life

    Adil, Bham
    What an excellent documentary it actually showed ways in which Muslims need to move forward and how we are after the 9/11. A documentay for all the family to watch except the small sex scenes. Would like to see more positive documentarys like this from the BBC.

    A great programme showing the people of Luton. Luton is a lovely place full of color, A Multi faith, Multi race place, Where people are united as One. its a cool place to be. Small, Alive, and active Lutons got it all.

    This was one of the best programs I have seen. I came fom Pakistan in 1967. The program made me realise that so many other Pakistanis went through the same as I. It made me laugh and cry. Lets have more of this.

    Thanks for these interesting programmes. It's great to see something examining Brtish Pakistani's without necessarily the tag of 'Asian' and being subsumed by the broadness of this. Some thoughtful and inspiring pieces that demonstrate the creativity of British Pakistani's in a positive light. More, please!

    an excellent programme- more please to help us understand our various cultures

    Adrian Heafford
    A good programme, which was also uplifting in many ways. I used to volunteer for Luton Industrial college although I have never lived there. Without wishing to be "classist", I think being a well educated and upwardly mobile person means that Sarfraz has probably had a very different experience of British life than some British people of Pakistani origin may have had. I think racism comes about because of lack of experience of other cultures, or else because a person doesn't feel secure about themselves and needs to find others they can either blame or consider below themselves. The programme captured how this is even true of an Oxford graduate who feels the need to feel superior about Luton. Being part of a gang (and I refer to all groups here) can also bolster otherwise low self esteem. I have never been to Pakistan but can remember arriving in Uzbekistan in the early hours of the morning and being taken to a feast (the end of Ramadan I think) and being made most welcome. Some British churches are capable of this openness too (and some are not) but lets build on the positive.

    it would be good to see

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