TV preview: Citizen Khan

Mrs Khan (Shobu Kapoor), Alia (Bavna Limbachia), Mr Khan (Adil Ray), Amjad (Abdullah Afzal), Shazia (Maya Sondhi).
Mrs Khan (Shobu Kapoor), Alia (Bavna Limbachia), Mr Khan (Adil Ray), Amjad (Abdullah Afzal), Shazia (Maya Sondhi).
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If the success of 1999 Bafta Award-winning East is East is anything to go by, this comedy about a self-appointed Muslim community leader and his long-suffering family, was always going to be rather popular.

And creator Adil Ray can breathe a sigh of relief that Citizen Khan is back on the Beeb for a second series. Sure, it was criticised by some for its supposedly old-fashioned gags and clichéd characters, but as the saying goes, you can’t please all of the people all the time (although it obviously pleased someone at the Beeb, given that it’s been commissioned for this new run).

For Ray, who also stars as Mr Khan, seeing his creation on the small screen means that years’ worth of hard work has finally paid off. Citizen Khan’s characters have been inspired by many people he’s known throughout his life.

Ray explains: “From a young child I remember being fascinated by adults. While my cousins played I’d sit with the grown-ups and watch and study adults. I’ve realised that some of Mr Khan’s characteristics must have been stored in my memory bank from watching adults around me. There are elements of my family in him, bits of my Dad and also bits of me in there too. I also think there’s a bit of him in all of us - because in the end all he wants is to be loved and respected.”

If you’ve yet to catch it, the comedy centres on the larger-than-life character who regularly clashes with his house-proud wife and two feisty daughters.

But this series isn’t Mr Khan’s first outing. Ray first developed the character for BBC2 comedy Bellamy’s People, before he starred in the writer’s own comedy pilot Sparkhill Sound for Radio 4, and The Real Mr Khan, a documentary looking at the work of community leaders, also on Radio 4.

Then came along this series last year, which saw Ray, with no acting training, in front of a studio audience. He says: “I was incredibly nervous, but over a six week period I learned so much, it was a fantastic journey for me. I’ve done live work as a presenter before but there’s something quite nice about doing it as a character, as it’s not you and you can actually let yourself go a bit and have lots of fun.”

As this second series kicks off, Mr Khan has to deal with the fact that daughter Alia has failed her exams. As Mrs Khan lays down the law, and tells her husband to sign Alia up at the Muslim Academy, he’s none too happy when he realises the cost, and so decides there’s a better option...

Meanwhile, Shazia invites her boss and best friend Debbie around for dinner and plans to ask her to be chief bridesmaid at her wedding, but she hadn’t counted on her dad inadvertently inviting an extra guest.

Shobu Kapoor, Maya Sondhi and Bhavna Limbachia co-star.

CITIZEN KHAN, BBC1, Friday 9.30pm

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