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Celebrate The Big British Asian Summer on the BBC

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This August an ambitious pan-BBC season – The Big British Asian Summer – will air across TV and radio.

At the season launch, Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, said: “I’m very proud that BBC Two is at the heart of The Big British Asian Summer – this season combines the qualities of mischief, intelligence and creative ambition that defines the channel.

“The stories that emerge in these programmes speak to the specific experience of British Asians but also reveal a shared, complex history that will resonate with the whole audience.

“Seasons like this are valuable on a number of levels: they create a shared cultural moment, they allow us to grow talent in front of the camera and also allow us to supercharge the way we commission and produce. I hope this season inspires programme makers to look at the range and depth of storytelling about British Asian culture and know that there is a home for them at the BBC.”

A Passage To Britain


In a three-part series for BBC Two, Dr Yasmin Khan pieces together the lives of the some of the new arrivals who came to Britain from the Indian subcontinent between the 1930s and 1960.

Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry


Anita Rani embarks on a journey through the extraordinary world of Indian cinema.

Searching For Mum

Across two hour-long episodes, this series tells the unfolding story of four women, each adopted from the Indian subcontinent as a baby, trying to find their biological mothers.

British Asian Men


Sixty years after the first major waves of immigration from the Indian subcontinent, why are there such disparities in how well different communities are faring in the UK, and why are women from South Asian backgrounds now outstripping their male peers?

Presenter Mehreen Baig explores the stories of a number of different British Asian communities, and the challenges facing their young men.

Recipes That Made Me


Recipes That Made Me is a brand new series in which cook and restaurateur Nisha Katona travels around the UK discovering the secrets of incredible home-cooked curries.

Inside The Factory: Curry Sauce


In a specially commissioned episode for the season, Gregg Wallace explores the Nottinghamshire factory that produces 250,000 jars of curry sauce every 24 hours.

Gardeners’ World British Asian Special


For a one special hour this summer, the Gardeners’ World team will set out on an horticultural adventure to celebrate the South Asian influences on British gardens.

BBC Two Presents The Big Asian Stand-Up


Presented by comedian and host of BBC Two’s The Mash Report Nish Kumar, The Big Asian Stand-Up will showcase a new wave of Asian comedic talent from the UK and beyond.

Taxi Tales


Taxi Tales will take you on a surprising journey through Middlesbrough, in and out of the cabs of three very different drivers: a young British-Pakistani entrepreneur who believes that immigrants have always been enterprising by nature; a local man who used to work in construction on towering glass buildings down South; and an older seasoned driver who is in love with his job…

…until the day he falls out of it. Their stories uncover what lies beneath the surface of a post-industrial northern town and unfold into a state of the nation tale.

The show stars three local taxi drivers from Middlesbrough and features an supporting cast of Tees Valley locals – all of whom are non-actors.

Taxi Tales is art of the Performance Live strand – a partnership between BBC Arts, Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre, showcasing some of the most exciting artists working in performance today.

Originally a piece of theatre set in cabs where the passengers were the audience, the show is written and presented by Middlesbrough taxi-driver-turned-playwright/screenwriter Ishy Din, directed by Bafta Award-winner Ben Anthony and produced by Tamasha Theatre Company.

Riz Ahmed: Road to Englistan (w/t)


Nikki Bedi interviews one of Britain’s most successful and outspoken actors – Riz Ahmed.

He opens up about his childhood in Wembley as the son of immigrants from Pakistan, and he talks about growing up in a “cultural no-man’s land”; switching identities as he moved between his traditionally Muslim family life, his predominantly white school, and his mates who were into British-Asian street culture.

Anita And Me… And Me

To introduce her 2002 film Anita And Me, Meera Syal journeys back to Essington in the Black Country – the mining village where she grew up. She describes how her childhood here inspired the coming-of-age novel Anita And Me, that she subsequently adapted into a film.

Finding Dad

BBC Three

Finding Dad is a new documentary fronted by Mim Shaikh, which will be shown as part of the Big British Asian Summer.

Mim Shaikh is a polymath: actor, poet, radio broadcaster. His wit, charm and humour have built a huge following for his BBC Radio 1Xtra show and his previous BBC Asian Network show. His first feature film has premiered at SXSW to rave reviews and his YouTube channel goes from strength to strength.

Mim’s spoken word poetry pieces focus on issues such as fatherhood, diversity, social environments and mental health. His video Letter To My Mother attracted the attention of the Royal Family, who asked Mim to get involved in their Heads Together campaign.

But Mim’s life is missing one thing. In this affecting and revelatory one-hour film, Mim is going on a deeply personal journey to track down his father. It’s not just a significant story for Mim. This is a meeting agonised over by thousands of young people in the UK. One in ten fathers have no contact with their children – and for those who have no idea about their dad’s identity – wondering who their dad is, what he’s like and what life would be like if they knew him, can be a theme underscoring their entire lives.

Supercar, Superfam

BBC Three

Supercar Superfam offers a window into an aspirational British-Pakistani family and follows Kash and Shabs, two brothers that own a supercar workshop in Essex which customises and revamps some of the most powerful sports cars in the world.

My Asian Alter Ego

BBC Three

My Asian Alter Ego brings together a collection of British Asian cultural commentators who predominantly live their lives online, but may have a very different personality when their phones stop uploading.

What Do Artists Do All Day?

BBC Four

A mini-series profiling three artists: Anoushka Shankar, Mahtab Hussain and Raqib Shaw.

Pump Up The Bhangra: The Sound Of Asian Britain

Fronted by BBC Asian Network DJ Bobby Friction, this is the story of how British Asians came of age, as they found their voice and celebrated their identity through Bhangra music.

Pictured: Bobby Friction with Dhol drummer Gurcharan Mall from Bhangra band Apna Sangeet

The Stolen Maharajah: Britain’s Indian Royal

BBC Four

The last Maharajah of the Punjab was wrenched from his mother’s arms as a child, and put into the care of an official of the British Empire. The documentary retraces the journeys of Duleep Singh and his family, from the royal palaces in the Punjab to royal palaces in Britain.

My Asian Family – The Musical

BBC Four

My Asian Family – The Musical tells the epic and inspiring story of one Asian family, the Thakrars, across three generations.

Just 12 of them came to Britain in 1972 with nothing, fleeing for their lives from Ida Amin’s Uganda. Since then they’ve not just made Britain their home, they’ve prospered – finding jobs, love and a new life. Now they number 90 members across three generations.


Radio 3
BBC Radio 3’s World Music programme, Music Planet, will present a specially-recorded session as well as a mixtape curated by BBC Asian Network presenter Ashanti Omkar.

Elsewhere on the station BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction will be joining Clemency Burton-Hill as a guest on the upcoming Radio 3 series and podcast Classical Fix. The season will also be reflected on Radio 3’s flagship Drive Time programme In Tune, with British Asian musicians performing live in the studio.

Asian Network
To celebrate the BBC Four documentary Pump Up The Bhangra, BBC Asian Network DJ Bobby Friction will host a special Asian Network live show from Maida Vale on Thursday 30 August from 7pm (BST) to 10pm.(BST) Bobby will be in conversation with some of the documentary contributors and the people behind it as well as other special guests. Listeners can also expect several live performances from Bhangra artists, including The Legends Band with Heera and Apna Sangeet.

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