BBC Asian Network celebrates Diwali 2020 with 24 hours of broadcasting

From Thursday 12 November, BBC Asian Network will dedicate 24 hours of programming to Diwali, allowing listeners to observe the festival of lights safely at home, with uplifting music, celebrity guests, and positive discussions.

Published: 5 November 2020
A woman jumps for joy
Diwali is such a brilliant time of the year. For many of us, it's a loud, family and music-centric celebration full of colour and fireworks. I intend to supply the music side of that equation with gusto on the BBC Asian Network!
— Bobby Friction

Throughout the 24-hour celebration and into Diwali weekend, listeners will be encouraged to share online and on-air their own stories of what they are grateful for, in the year that saw many unpredictable changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Diwali will also mark the creation of BBC Asian Network’s new brand Asian Network Celebrates... where specially commissioned mixes will be played on-air in the lead up to the Diwali weekend. All mixes will be available on BBC Sounds as part of the All Day Diwali Mix (full details below).

Yasser will begin the 24-hour festivities with a comedy club co-host featuring Sukh Ojla and a Diwali Versus clash with Jaz Dhami during his Drivetime show (4-7pm). Bobby Friction (7-10pm) will then take over and play a series of unique Diwali mixes that will lead into a Group Chat episode (10pm-midnight) which will focus on gratitude, encouraging viewers to reflect on what they are thankful for this year.

The following morning during Asian Network Breakfast (6-10am), Nadia Ali will host an on-air Diwali party with fellow presenters including Bobby Friction, Preeya Kalidas, Ashanti and Dipps Bhamrah. Listeners can join in the fun and will have the opportunity to share what Diwali means to them and how they’ll be celebrating the festival virtually this year. The breakfast show will end with a one-off Diwali Love Friday Mix.

The Big Debate (10am-12.45pm) will then look into how Covid-19 has affected the way Asian communities across the country will be celebrating Diwali this year and in the final show of the 24-hour initiative, Noreen Khan (1-4pm) will bring back her popular feature for a one-off Diwali special - Khandaan’s Got Talent! Listeners will have a chance to take part and show off their singing talent on air with special guest and judge Manj Musik.

Over the weekend, shows, features and mixes will continue to observe the festival of lights with all highlights available on BBC Sounds and reflected across BBC Asian Network’s social media channels.

Ahmed Hussain, Head of Asian Network, says: “Diwali being the festival of lights, is all about positivity and gratitude. Here on BBC Asian Network, we’ve created a unique 24-hour broadcast encouraging this attitude among our listeners, despite not being able to celebrate in the usual way. Diwali will also usher in the creation Asian Network Celebrates..., a new brand that will kick off over the weekend and we hope that for all celebrations to come, we can provide the best playlists for those special moments.”

Bobby Friction says: “Diwali is such a brilliant time of the year. For many of us, it's a loud, family and music-centric celebration full of colour and fireworks. I intend to supply the music side of that equation with gusto on the BBC Asian Network!"



BBC Asian Network’s 24-hour Diwali schedule

Thursday 14 November

  • 4-7pm - Yasser, featuring guests Sukh Ojla and Jaz Dhami
  • 7-10pm - Bobby Friction
  • 10pm-midnight - Group Chat

Friday 15 November

  • 6-10am - Asian Network Breakfast with Nadia Ali and presenters Bobby Friction, Preeya Kalidas, Ashanti and Dipps Bhamrah
  • 10am-12.45pm - The Big Debate
  • 1-4pm Noreen Khan featuring Manj Musik for Khandaan’s Got Talent

Asian Network Celebrates... Diwali Mixes

  • Ashanti's South Indian Diwali Mix
    Ashanti Omkar curates a Diwali Mix fused with South Indian flavours. Big party anthems from AR Rahman, Arjun, Raja Kumari and more
  • Harpz's Diwali House Party Mix
    Harpz Kaur curates a House Party Mix for Diwali. Big floorfillers from Badshah, Daft Punk, Jenny Johal and more
  • PHS Bhangra Diwali Mix
    Panjabi Hit Squad curates their own Bhangra Diwali Mix. Party anthems from Diljit Dosanjh, Jasmine Sandlas, Miss Pooja and more
  • Gagan's Bollywood Diwali Disco Mix
    Gagan Grewal curates a glitzy Bollywood Disco Mix for Diwali. Floorfillers from Alisha Chinoy, Benny Dayal, Nazia Hassan and more