Category Archives: ‘Citizen Khan’

This Week in TV – 28th September – 4th October

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV, taking stops at the mystery world of Atlantis, an inner-city estate which is home to ‘some girls’ and finally the Mr Khan-led area of Sparkhill.

Saturday 28th September

Atlantis

BBC1, 8:25pm'Atlantis' - BBC1, 8:25pm

The much-anticipated fantasy drama, featuring a host of legendary figures, finally arrives on BBC1  tonight.

Jason (Jack Donnelly) has been in search of his father for twenty years. However, that search is about to turn his whole life upside down as he becomes washed up on the shores of the mysterious land of Atlantis. Life is far from easy in this place: he has to contend with violence and deadly rituals from the moment he arrives, as he is faced with legends like Pythagoras (Robert Emms), Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) and Hercules (Mark Addy).

The BBC have clearly spent a lot of money on Atlantis (what with this and The Wrong Mans, it’s a wonder there was money spare for other shows) and it looks set to be a sure hit, especially seeing as many are treating it as the replacement for Merlin.

Also today: I Love My Country comes to an end (BBC1, 5:30pm) with Ashley Banjo, Duncan Bannatyne and Will Mellor taking part; it’s a period drama special of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 6:15pm), and Xander has kindly dressed up for the occasion; the second batch of celebrities make their debut on the Strictly Come Dancing dancefloor (BBC1, 7:00pm); it’s Oritsé & AJ v Brian & Vogue in the Stepping Out final (ITV, 7:20pm); it’s bootcamp time at The X Factor (ITV, 8:20pm); Hello: A Portrait of Leslie Phillips (More4, 9:00pm) celebrates the life and career of the Carry On actor; The Sarah Millican Slightly Longer Television Programme (it’s basically Tuesday’s show but ten minutes longer) is on BBC2 at 9:30pm; Larry Lamb and Emma Bunton are on Through the Keyhole (ITV, 9:50pm); and Dara O Briain: Craic Dealer makes its TV debut (BBC2, 10:10pm).

Sunday 29th September

The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek

BBC2, 7:30pm

Live comedy trio The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek (Graeme Rooney, Paul Charlton and Kevin  O’Loughlin) have now been given the chance to present their surreal humour to a wider audience with their very own sketch show.'The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek' - BBC2, 7:30pm

As you can tell from the time that this show is scheduled, it’s not going to be the most near-the-knuckle material you’ve ever heard, but what is should be is a bit of fun – and isn’t that what comedy is intended for?

The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek will include brand new material from the trio, but just to give you a flavour of the weird and wonderful world you may be about to enter into, here’s a rundown of some of their previous sketches: gay vegetarian lions, adulterous Yetis and a psychopathic lollipop man.

Brace yourselves, this is something which we possibly have never seen before…

Also today: Find out who’s through to judges’ houses in The X Factor (ITV, 7:30pm); and Jonathan Ross, Sue Perkins, Lee Mack, Jo Brand and many, many more pop up on The Big Fat Quiz of the 90s on Channel 4 at 9:00pm – let’s hope it’s a bit better than last week’s 80s-themed episode…

Monday 30th September

Some Girls

BBC3, 10:00pm

Unfortunately this series seemed to pass by pretty much unnoticed last year. I admit that I only became a fan when the repeat run of the first series began. It’s a pity that more didn’t pick up on it,'Some Girls' - BBC3, 10:00pm though, as it really is very funny. Hopefully more will catch on this year.

Some Girls centres around a group of four quirky friends living on an inner-city estate. There’s the dumb one (Amber), the disruptive one (Holli), the geeky one (Saz) and then the level-headed one, and narrator of the series, Viva. Not conventional names, you may think, but then these aren’t conventional girls. Yes, they may be dumb, disruptive and geeky but they’re all really rounded, too, and can be strangely moving to watch. Bernadette Davis (Game On) has written them all brilliantly, and they are portrayed perfectly, too.

The first episode of this series has been available on iPlayer since last week, but is debuting on BBC3 tonight. As we rejoin the girls, Viva is in a relationship, but is worried that her boyfriend is taking it too seriously, and Saz is once again questioning whether she is normal.

My guess would be no.

Also today: Real Rescues (BBC1, 11:00am), Four in a Bed (Channel 4, 5:00pm) and Oddities (Watch, 5:00pm) return; Zoe Ball reflects on the goings-on in the ballroom in Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (BBC2, 6:30pm); A Question of Sport is back (BBC1, 8:30pm), with Michael Owen and Louis Smith; two-part series Broadmoor: The Inside Story begins (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Ax Men, following lumberjacks in their work, begins on ITV3 (9:00pm); reality series The Face comes to Sky Living (9:00pm); Russell Howard hosts Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC2, 10:00pm); and journalist and ‘lads mag’-advocate Martin Daubney presents one-off documentary Porn on the Brain (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Tuesday 1st October

Drama Matters

Sky Living, 9:00pm

This dramatic and often blackly comic series of one-off stories begins tonight with an episode'Drama Matters' - Sky Living, 9:00pm entitled ‘The Psychopath Next Door’.

It’s not quite as The Shining-esque as you might imagine – on the contrary, ‘The Psychopath Next Door’ is set in a beautiful, seemingly idyllic close (not dissimilar to that seen in Mount Pleasant, actually). Marianne, Imogen and Catriona have been friends for a long time, and all live happily and peacefully on the close. However, their lives are turned upside down when the eponymous psychopath, Eve (Anna Friel, pictured), arrives and causes much anxiety and worry between the trio. What exactly is she plotting?

In the coming weeks, Drama Matters will see Suranne Jones play a fledgling judge in ‘Lawless’, Scottish footballer Gemma Fay as a referee-turned-plus-size model in ‘Rubenesque’, Katherine Kelly as a scorned sister in the eerie ‘The Last Witch’, and Russell Tovey and Keith Allen star in ‘Talking to the Dead’, based on Harry Bingham’s novel of the same name.

Also today: One-off documentary House of Surrogates (BBC4, 9:00pm); film Run Fatboy Run (E4, 10:00pm); and highlights of The Stephen Lawrence Unity Concert (BBC1, 10:35pm), which was held on Sunday in support of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and included performances from Ellie Goulding and Jessie J.

Wednesday 2nd October

The Great British Year

BBC1, 9:00pm'The Great British Year' - BBC1, 9:00pm

Each week this documentary series will show how the changing of the seasons affects our British wildlife, beginning this week with winter.

Beginning with New Year’s Day, this first episode shows how red squirrels, kites (pictured) and adders all cope with the ice and snow.

I’ve only seen a few clips of The Great British Year but it is clear that, just like all of the BBC’s other wildlife documentaries, it is going to be a fascinating insight into the behaviour of animals in extreme conditions.

Also today: Unsafe Sex in the City, following life in a northern sexual health clinic, is back (BBC3, 9:00pm); Mat Watson and Rebecca Jackson present new motoring show I Want That Car (ITV4, 9:00pm); and current affairs series Exposure, which earlier this year won a Royal Television Society award for its uncovering of the Jimmy Savile scandal, returns (ITV, 10:35pm).

Thursday 3rd October

Mayhem & Mishaps: Britain Caught on Camera

BBC1, 9:00pm

Mark ‘Chappers’ Chapman presents this one-off look at the everyday accidents we encounter in our lives, using home videos and CCTV footage to illustrate'Mayhem & Mishaps: Britain Caught on Camera' - BBC1, 9:00pm his points.

Some are shocking and others are just plain hilarious, but all have been caught on camera (no this isn’t a post-watershed You’ve Been Framed: why on earth would you think that?). Chappers also tries to recreate these mishaps by setting up stunts and visiting testing units across the country, and trying to find out what we can do to stop these incidents from happening in the first place.

Also today: A new BBC3 series with a typical BBC3 title: Hotel of Mum and Dad begins (9:00pm); and over on BBC4, Dr Michael Mosley presents Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines (9:00pm).

Friday 4th October

Citizen Khan

BBC1, 9:30pm

Hands up, who’s surprised to see this sitcom back? So pretty much all of us, then? Good.'Citizen Khan' - BBC1, 9:30pm

Yes, Adil Ray’s comedy about a Pakistani Muslim family attracted over 200 complaints when it  began last year, with many upset at its farcical and, according to some, ‘mocking’ portrayal of Islam. It’s not the portrayal of Islam that I found offensive (I think people just weren’t prepared for a sitcom about a Muslim family), it was the almost complete lack of laughs. It just seemed to be another in the long line of BBC sitcoms which were barren of gags. Of course, since Citizen Khan ended last year, we have now been able to add The Wright Way and Father Figure to that list.

Anyway, the point is that the show is back and as we rejoin the Sparkhill-based family, Mrs Khan wants her daughter Alia to sign up for the local Muslim Academy – but Mr Khan has other ideas. Elsewhere, Shazia has invited her boss round for dinner, but can she count on her dad not to mess the evening up for her?

Probably not.

Also today: Unreported World returns (Channel 4, 7:30pm); the fifth series of Glee comes to Sky1 (8:00pm); Ian and Paul return for a 46th (!) run of Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Brian Blessed is in the guest’s chair for Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); 8 Out of 10 Cats is back (Channel 4, 9:00pm), and for once they aren’t playing Countdown; Elton John in Concert is on BBC4 (9:00pm); Jeremy Clarkson, Bill Bailey and Jimmy Carr discuss Kings in QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); David Mitchell and James McAvoy drop by for Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Kevin Bridges: The Story Continues, the stand-up’s 2012 show, is on BBC1 at 10:35pm; eerie thriller The Hand That Rocked The Cradle is on BBC1 (11:35pm); and one-off stand-up show Nick Helm’s Heavy Entertainment is on BBC3 at 11:45pm.

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: Altantis – Thanks to BBC, Urban Myth Films and Nick Briggs, ©Urban Myth Films; The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek – Thanks to BBC and Yalli, ©Yalli; Some Girls – Thanks to BBC, Hat Trick and Des Willie, ©Hat Trick; Drama Matters – Thanks to Sky, Colin Hutton and ITV Studios; The Great British Year – Thanks to BBC BHU and Luke Massey, ©Luke Massey; Mayhem & Mishaps: Britain Caught on Camera – Thanks to BBC, Lion TV and Matthew Ainsworth, ©Lion TV; Citizen Khan, Thanks to BBC and Jay Brooks, ©BBC

Advertisements

TV Round-Up: 15 – 21st September 2012

Comedy World Cup – Episode 1.1

The premise for this show really is brilliant: a team of comedians – old and young – answer questions on the world of comedy. That’s everything from stand-up, to the sitcom, to the panel show to really get apparent comedy know-it-alls like myself and the panellists wracking our brains.

Fans of the genre will be all over it – as will David Tennant fans. The trouble is, though, that comedy fans may be left somewhat crestfallen as, considering it’s a show all about the subject, it’s not very funny.

I’m a huge fan of host David Tennant, as well as many of the participants this week: Shappi Khorsandi, Jo Brand, Dave Spikey, Jason Manford and Nicholas Parsons. Paul Chowdhry not so much. However, I don’t think they particularly excelled on Comedy World Cup which was a shame, especially when it came to Dave Spikey – someone who I believe to be one of the most underrated comics on the circuit, sadly living in former friend Peter Kay’s shadow. I actually went to see Dave live in March and found him to be just as good – if not better – than many comics I have seen, whether it be live or onscreen.

It was a watchable show, but not a stand-out one. I suppose some tricky questions blended with vintage – yet hit/miss – clips managed to see it through. Hopefully it won’t rely on this throughout the series, though.

Big Fat Quiz of the 80s

Call me sad, but one of the highlights of the festive season for me is watching the annual Big Fat Quiz of the Year. I always enjoy it! Sometimes I even watch the Big Fat Quizzes from as far back as 2005 and it still tickles me.

The key to the Big Fat Quizzes‘ success is a brilliant panel, usually involving Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand or Noel Fielding and other fantastic comedians. However, although entertaining, I have to say that I’ve seen better panels than the one produced on Big Fat Quiz of the 80s.

The contributors on this episode were comedians Jason Manford, Jonathan Ross, Adam Buxton (…) and Micky Flanagan, alongside actor Stephen Mangan (of Green Wing and Episodes fame) and Loose Woman, Carol Vorderman. I guess they were chosen specifically for their 80s status: Jonathan and Adam both fall into the ‘nerd’ category so are therefore probably fans of 80s retro, Micky was in his twenties in the decade, Carol started in her iconic Countdown role and Jason and Stephen were, I guess, either teenagers or young kids so have some sort of affinity with that time. Nevertheless, as I said, it wasn’t the strongest panel ever.

Fortunately Micky Flanagan didn’t disappoint. It’s refreshing to see a comedian who always laughs if he finds other comics’ jokes funny, unlike some comedians who suppress it, prioritising professional rivalry of simply being genuine. Plus, his Filofax gag was the highlight of the show! I couldn’t possible repeat it here, though…

Big Fat Quiz of the 80s was still funny but not as much as I would have thought. Maybe I had my expectations set too high, due to the standard of previous years’ episodes. Perhaps I just missed the presence of a Brand, Ayoade, Fielding or Walliams to provide absolutely absurd answers throughout.

Tomorrow there’s the 90s quiz and, I’m going to be honest, I’m not holding out much hope for it. If Jack Whitehall wasn’t there, I think I’d be dreading it. I may be pleasantly surprised, though. I hope so.

The Rob Brydon Show – Episode 3.6

What has been a fairly average – yet quite enjoyable – series of The Rob Brydon Show drew to a close this week.

Once again, the audience interaction was great as in this episode, Rob spoke to a man who was born in a toilet. Actually in a toilet. As if the story wasn’t brilliant enough in itself, the host added, “And your mother looked down and said, ‘It’s a wee boy!'” Inspired.

The first, and probably biggest, guest of tonight’s show was Ray Winstone who provided my favourite moment of the entire series when Rob attempted to get him to showcase his ‘softer side’ by getting him to read an excerpt from The Three Little Pigs.

Despite his instruction being to not act tough, nor intimidating, Ray still managed to incorporate this line to a crossed-legged, thumb-sucking Rob:

“Take care that that naughty, naughty, naughty, naughty wolf does not catch you…’cos ‘e’s a f*cker!”

I had to pause the show because I was laughing so much!

It’s a safe bet that The Rob Brydon Show will return for both a Christmas special later in the year and a fourth series next. That’s not a complaint by any means but the show isn’t very experimental, is it? It’s a very ‘safe’ comedy so could run and run without anyone questioning it or calling for changes. So, until the inevitable special, farewell, Rob!

Citizen Khan – Episode 1.4

Now that the whole furore about its alleged political incorrectness seems to have died down, Citizen Khan seems to be going quite unnoticed, just moving along at a consistent pace. Unfortunately, that consistency means that it’s still as unfunny as when it started.

In fact, I so often find myself spending the whole episode cringing on the cast and crew’s behalves. I don’t think it’s offensive or particularly stereotypical – it’s just predictable and of poor quality!

If it wasn’t for the fact that it may be challenging and altering perceptions of the Muslim and Pakistani communities, I doubt it would even have been commissioned!

Celebrity Juice – Episode 8.4

I don’t know about you, but I tend to find that when a new series of Juice starts, it seems that this run is going to be the best ever. Full of fresh ideas and jokes, it looks to be the funniest of them all.

However, a few weeks in, the novelty of having Keith and the gang back wanes a little and, while there are still moments of genuine hilarity, it just isn’t as good as it was a few episodes back. Well, that’s the way I’m starting to feel.

Don’t get me wrong: I still think it’s a brilliantly funny program and stands head-and-shoulders above its contemporaries, but the magic of the first couple of episodes isn’t quite there any more.

Nevertheless, I loved this episode. With chart-topper Example, Capital breakfast show’s Lisa Snowdon, comedian Chris Ramsey and Olympic hero Mo Farrah (or as Keith preferred to call him, MoFo!), while it wasn’t the funniest of the series, it was the most shocking!

The shock came from the Bonk Game – a spoof of the Bong Game, as played on the Capital breakfast show. Whereas in the original Bong Game, callers have to hold their nerve while sums of money gradually increase, and if they call for it to stop before the ‘Bong’ goes, they win that money, Keith’s Bonk Game was nothing like this. Instead, Lisa had to predict how far Keith would go with her on a first date. It started quite civilised, with “LOOKING INTO EACH OTHER’S EYES”, then “CUDDLE”, “PUT MY HAND ON YOUR KNEE”, then it got a bit more risqué with, “TOUCHING BOOB OVER SHIRT”…and then it descended into something else altogether! I stared at the TV open-mouthed and just felt so sorry for Fearne and Holly! Even given the nature of Celebrity Juice, the Bonk Game was shocking – hilarious, but shocking.

Then, there was the first round – LemonHead – in which Keith produced a magazine entitled Le Closerer. On seeing it, everyone leaped to the Duchess of Cambridge’s defence and turned into a pantomime audience, booing and hissing at the mock-up. However, their boos turned to cheers and their hissing to applause when Keith proudly placed the magazine in a shredder! Keith took it even further, though, when he emptied the shreds, spat on them (prompting those present to cheer even more), then picked a handful up and pretended to angrily wipe his backside on them – by which time any cheering had subsided and laughs prevailed.

I’ve already made my views known about the Kate scandal elsewhere, but I will say that to see Keith do this was unexpected. It would have been so easy for him to just mock the Duchess and ridicule her and the story as a whole. The fact that he didn’t is actually quite respectable and solidifies the outrage and disgust we as a nation feel towards the French magazine.

Trollied – Episode 2.5

Trollied – the jewel in Sky’s comedy crown – is fast becoming the highlight of my week and it’s down to two things: brilliant one-liners and Stephanie Beacham.

In fact, a lot of the one-liners I am so fond of do come from Stephanie Beacham’s character: Valco’s foul-mouthed manager, Lorraine. It’s simply inspired that every other word with her is “bastard” – and it’s not becoming tiresome! Every time she does unnecessarily drop it into a sentence, it’s still hilarious! She’s the best thing about Trollied – and that’s some achievement.

The big storyline this week was happy-go-lucky – and slightly dippy – shelf-stacker Leighton turning off all of the freezers in store in order to prevent global warming, thus flooding the frozen food section. This led to Lorraine – who has hated him for a while now anyway, ever since he sold copious bottles of cider to a group of schoolboy…who were dressed in school uniform (his defence was that he “was told they were thirty”) – ordering Julie to fire him immediately.

Valco is Leighton’s life! He was devastated to have been fired for just trying to do good for the environment, and I was devastated to see him go. I really hope he comes back – if he doesn’t, I’ll try to get him a job with me at Argos!

The subplot of Julie trying to emulate Lorraine – both in authority, speech and body language – is excellent, too. Julie and Lorraine are polar-opposites, like chalk and cheese or Alex Reid and Chantelle Houghton. And we all know how it turned out for the latter pair, don’t we? (While we’re on the subject: have you seen Alex’s grovelling video? Oh my God!) Lorraine is a tough, no-nonsense woman, whereas Julie is a soft, flighty girl – it’s just a treat to watch. And long may it continue to be!

Alan Carr: Chatty Man – Episode 9.2

Chatty Man seems to be going from strength-to-strength, appearing to achieve more of an intimate party feel every series. It really is a great ‘Friday night in’ show!

Alan’s monologue at the top of the show remains a favourite with me and this week he had me howling with laughter as he announced:

“An Italian magazine have [sic] printed the pictures of Kate and Wills sunbathing over twenty six pages. If you flick through them really quickly you can see Kate getting browner…and William getting balder!”

After his routine and the low-down on the guests still to come, the comedian welcomed his first guests: the cast of Channel 4 comedy-drama Fresh Meat, including Jack Whitehall (Bad Education) and Joe Thomas (The Inbetweeners).

Seriously, can someone tell me why Joe always has a face like a slapped arse? Even when he and his fellow Inbetweeners presented an award at the BAFTAs last year, he looked so miserable!

Despite Thomas’s grumpiness, though, I did enjoy the interview – particularly a palpably tipsy Jack Whitehall – and listening to the cast share their own university experiences (as Fresh Meat is set in a university) was great. The camaraderie between all of them (well, perhaps except one…) was lovely to see, as they gently mocked each other’s anecdotes.

I also loved seeing Doctor Who star Matt Smith on the show. He’s been on the Chatty Man sofa before and made a welcome reappearance. You could tell he and Alan get on really well, especially when the host shared the “Who’s ‘Matt Smith’?!” story! Someone has uploaded it to YouTube and, although it’s terrible quality, you can see it here – about forty five seconds in.

I was in hysterics when Alan enquired as to where the BBC get the money from to fund Doctor Who. What must go through his mind either when writing questions for Matt, or as an ad-lib during recording, to prompt him to say:

“I thought they were skint! Who’s the BBC been sucking off?”

This week’s was a really enjoyable Chatty Man – as is the norm. However, the singer Example did go down in my estimations: I thought he was unnecessarily rude and bossy towards Alan! He certainly didn’t set a good Example!*

Next week’s guests are Grand Designs‘ Kevin McCloud, The Voice UK‘s Jessie J, songstress Alicia Keys and boyband One Direction! No disrespect to him, but I don’t think anyone’s going to be turning up just to see Kevin McCloud…

*Couldn’t resist

QI – Episode 10.2

Now into its ‘J’ series, the focus of this week’s QI was ‘Jam, Jelly and Juice’.

The first question asked by quizmaster Stephen was, “What begins with ‘J’ and appears to be alive?” An array of answers followed, including:

  • “Me” (Jo Brand)
  • “James Blunt” (Liza Tarbuck)
  • “Jeremy Clarkson” (Sue Perkins)
  • “Jedward” (Sue Perkins)

Both of Sue’s answers received the dreaded klaxon, flashing lights, etc. The answer was strangely jelly, because brainwaves can actually be detected from it. Now that’s more than Quite Interesting!

Speaking of Quite Interesting, we discovered something new about Stephen Fry this week, when he sat in his host’s chair and announced without a hint of irony, “I like titties.” It was most unexpected, as I’m sure you can imagine! What a way to reveal it: on the telly!

Seriously, never have I watched an episode of QI in which there has been more innuendo. ‘Jam, Jelly and Juice’ was absolutely packed with it, much to host Stephen’s apparent disapproval. He got quite stiff about it…

The show ended with – just like last week – a disappointing absence of General Ignorance: one of my highlights of previous series. I don’t know whether it’s because of running time but it was cruelly cut, and wasn’t even present in last week’s QI XL!

General Ignorance’s vanishing act wasn’t the biggest shock this week, though, as Alan Davies somehow managed to summon up a victory with an amazing +11 points! He might not be popular with Liverpool FC fans, but he is with those at QI!

;

To let me know what you think of any of my comments, or just to share your views on anything about the world of TV, drop a comment on this post or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘Citizen Khan’ – Episode 1.2

Citizen Khan – the BBC’s new, quite controversial, sitcom about a Muslim Pakistani family living in Sparkhill, Birmingham – continued last night. Well, let’s not wait any longer: let’s get down to the review.

‘THE OFFENCE POLICE’

Perhaps it’s because I’m an English atheist but I – naively? – didn’t think Citizen Khan would be perceived as ‘offensive’ or ‘controversial’. Of course, the subject matter is something which British audiences haven’t seen for a long while – race and religion, Islam in particular, so for some reason it was bound to raise eyebrows with some, regardless of the end result. It seems that, with the BBC receiving 187 complaints from disgruntled viewers within the first twenty-four hours of it airing, people are in fact not happy with Adil Ray’s sitcom.

Yes, I found the first episode bland. I think everyone did – it lacked originality and a great amount of humour. And it is this blandness, absence of originality, etc. which people seem to find offensive, not the representation of Islam or British Pakistanis within the half-hour episode. Actually, I asked a Muslim friend what she thought of Citizen Khan and she said “On the whole it was mediocre and far too cheesy”, and I couldn’t agree more: the opening episode really wasn’t anything special at all.

Personally, I think that the majority of people who complained to the BBC about Citizen Khan apparently being in bad taste won’t have been Muslim, nor Pakistani. I’m just making a prediction here based on articles – by Muslim writers – about the show, but I think they will have instead been members of The Offence Police – that invisible group of busybodies who have Ofcom on speed dial and somehow find the time to moan and groan about any little thing which could be perceived as offensive to anyone other than themselves: the professional objectors. That is why I believe Citizen Khan has been slated, not because it gives the people it is representing a bad name, but because the large majority of the audience found it mostly unfunny, and the small rest felt fit to not only find it unfunny, but uncover any degree of prejudice within it, of which I can see none.

‘NOT MUCH OF AN IMPROVEMENT’

I have to say, this episode wasn’t much of an improvement on the first. Once again, it lacked originality and it felt like I’d seen it all before. A lot of the jokes you can see coming a mile off, so it makes it harder to concentrate on the comedy potential as you’re too busy correctly predicting what the next punchline will be.

Sitcoms like Citizen Khan and In With the Flynns just don’t seem modern or new (despite the former appearing to be so with its subject matter). There’s nothing particularly wrong with creating a sitcom with a traditional feel in 2012! Miranda is inspired by the 70s, with its quite over-the-top (yet sublime) acting, asides to camera, and so on. It’s warm, friendly and familiar but doesn’t feel stuck in the past. Ditto Mrs. Brown’s Boys. While the language is slightly more…let’s say ‘daring’ than KhanFlynns or Miranda, it still is quite traditional: studio audience, the lead character directly addressing the audience – both at home and at the recording – but it has a modern feel, mainly because it is one of the first sitcoms not to take itself too seriously. The storylines are exaggerated, as are the characters, yet writer Brendan O’Carroll has hit upon the brilliantly fresh idea of leaving the majority of the out-takes in for the viewers at home to see.

That is my point: Miranda and Mrs. Brown do rely somewhat on previously established concepts yet have their own modern twists so they’re not predictable, nor tiresome. In With the Flynns and Citizen Khan on the other hand, unfortunately, are. The mark of a truly good comedy, I find, is something which another writer wouldn’t want to try and do themselves: they just want to leave it to the creator, or creators, of that show. The two easiest examples of the classic British sitcom genre are Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty TowersOnly Fools was only ever written by John Sullivan – no one else. After all, who would have wanted to take the risk of penning lines for the Trotters when only the late, great Sullivan himself could do it? I’m a writer and wouldn’t want to even attempt to emulate the genius he brought to that show because I know for a fact that, although I am at least partly competent when it comes to scriptwriting, I wouldn’t do Only Fools and Horses justice. Likewise with Fawlty Towers – John Cleese and Connie Booth are the only ones who know, for example, how Basil and Sybil’s marriage truly worked, how far to push Fawlty’s violence towards Manuel, and so much more. Only they could write itCitizen Khan isn’t like that, though. I feel that I could jump onto my computer, open up Microsoft Word and start typing out lines for Khan and co. with ease because it’s not precious enough for me not to touch, and I’m sure many writers would feel the same.

WE NEED FUNNIER CHARACTERS!

There are some good gags in this show, don’t get me wrong, but they genuinely are few and far between. Plus, the gags – as I said last week – are nearly all heaped upon Mr. Khan himself. He hogs the jokes and seems to be responsible for every second line, which doesn’t really give other characters a chance to shine – they just remain pretty much in Khan’s shadow. If the writers want more people to realise the funny stuff I’m sure they are capable of producing, they should simply give more characters more jokes. Plus, with the introduction of Mrs. Khan’s mother, they have another character to make funny, don’t they? And from what I’ve seen of Mr. Khan’s mother-in-law in this episode, she seems likely to inject at least a little more ‘comedy’ into the show.

 

Maybe Citizen Khan will grow on me. I don’t despise it, it’s just that I don’t have a lot to say in support of it (as I’m sure you can gauge). Perhaps others will begin to like Mr. Khan, too, once this whole furore over the offence it has apparently caused dies down.

 

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.