Archive for October, 2015

Citizen Khan takes over Birmingham

The cast of Citizen Khan take to the red carpet at Cineworld on Broad Street, Birmingham

The cast of Citizen Khan take to the red carpet at Cineworld on Broad Street, Birmingham

On Tuesday 27 October 2015 the nation’s favourite Pakistani Community Leader and Sparkhill resident, Mr Khan, was seen out and about in Birmingham to celebrate the start of the new series of Citizen Khan on BBC One, Friday 30 October 2015.

Before arriving in the trademark Mercedes, at a red carpet preview of the new series at Cineworld on Broad Street, Mr Khan took over the train announcements at Birmingham New Street station.

During the one hour takeover Mr Khan announced trains all over the UK, with one even making a surprise stop at Karachi, although I think that may have been a Mr Khan joke. He also offered commuters insights on the best shopping deals around the region, with 99p toilet rolls in Nottingham (worth the trip alone) and very nice Halal Butchers in Aston, en route to Walsall.

Mr Khan then proved his claim that ‘Everybody knows him’ when he went on a walkabout in the new Grand Central concourse where he was soon surrounded by fans of his show wanting selfies with the self appointed community leader and of course Mr Khan duly obliged.

It did seem that not quite everybody knew him though, as one mother was overheard explaining to her son that the crowd that had gathered around Mr Khan because “he was off the television and was in that show called The Kumars.”

He also took some time out to record a short video piece for The One Show to support the fundraising Rickshaw Challenge

Then it was off to Broad Street where the Khan family arrived in the pouring rain in the yellow Mercedes to meet and greet fans on the red carpet before a special screening of the first two episodes of the new series.  Mr Khan (Adil Ray), Amjad (Abdullah Afzal), Shazia (Krupa Pattani), Naani (Adlyn Ross) and Riaz (Nish Nathwani) all arived in character and mingled with fans who grabbed photographs and videos on their smart phones.

Mr Khan was in demand being interviewed live on air for BBC Midlands Today (or as Mr Khan called it ‘Muslim’ Today), BBC Asian Network Radio and this interview with I Am Birmingham (Twitter).

When asked where Mrs Khan and Alia were he explained that Mrs Khan was busy babysitting their grandson, Mohammed, and that Alia was very busy with her college work and was planning to do her homework at the Mosque until around 4am.

The lucky few that managed to get tickets in the BBC ballot along with some invited guests were then treated to a preview screening of the first two episodes of the new series.

Episode 1: Farley Manor – BBC One Friday 30 October 2015 at 8:30pm
A family day out with the Khans is never going to run smoothly. A chance meeting with Lord Anstruther on a day trip to Farley Manor, filmed at the Elizabethan stately home of Englefield House in Berkshire, may be the stroke of luck Mr Khan needs to get his dream council job but when Naani decides to help herself to some of the historical Indian treasures on display it threatens to ruin Mr Khan’s plans to hobnob with the aristocracy.

Episode 2: Family Photo – BBC One Friday 6 November 2015 at 8:30pm
Mr Khan attempts to take on a fitness regime around the streets of Birmingham, with the help of Amjad, his back problem returns and his plans to secure a school crossing patrol job at a school in Edgbaston are put under threat. Naani has arranged a family photo session in a proper studio, but Alia wants to hijack it for a portrait portfolio for her fashion vlog, which is getting quite a few hits, but for all the wrong reasons.

Both episodes were well received by the preview audience and following the screening, Andy Akinwolere (BBC Inside Out) hosted a question and answer session with the cast, who were now out of character and being themselves.

The new six episode series of Citizen Khan starts at 8:30pm Friday 30 October on BBC One and there will also be an extra Christmas special to look forward to shortly after the fourth series has finished.

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Citizen Khan Series Four – Interview with Adil Ray

On Tuesday 27 October BBC One prime time comedy hero Citizen Khan [played and created by Adil Ray] will be having a day out in the city of Birmingham ahead of the latest series, which returns to our screens on Friday 30 October at 8.30pm.  He will be visiting the city’s landmarks, patrolling through Grand Central with commuters and even taking over the train announcements at Birmingham New Street Station.

Then he will be pushing the boat out for once, treating the Khan family to a special trip to Cineworld Broad Street for a red carpet screening of the new series. Fans can see the whole Khan clan arriving on the red carpet from 5.45pm on Tuesday 27 October and should look out for him causing mischief around the city all day.

Ahead of the preview screening and start of the fourth series, I was fortunate enough to catch up with Adil Ray to chat about the new series, Birmingham and cricket, here is what he had to say.

Joy: Citizen Khan returns to BBC One on Friday 30 October 2015 for the fourth series.

Joy: Citizen Khan returns to BBC One on Friday 30 October 2015 for the fourth series of the comedy show.

I started by asking Adil how he felt that the character of Mr Khan had evolved since his early appearances on Bellamy’s People.

Adil explained, “Initially with Mr Khan, he was quite a satirical character playing a community leader, but as soon as you put him with his wife and his two kids within a family context, he actually becomes a more rounded character. He can laugh, he can cry, he can have a range of emotions, simply because of his relationships with his family members.

The very nature of a family is that it never stops growing and in the last series his daughter, Shazia, has a baby boy so suddenly Mr Khan is a grandfather and his kids are parents so it changes the family dynamic, so it feels that the character has grown in a really organic way.”

Picking up on Mr Khan becoming a grandfather I asked Adil how this might change the way he behaves in the new series.

Adil revealed, “It brings lots of great fun as you can imagine, he wants his grandson to play cricket for England, at one point he thinks his grandson has some secret powers and gets him to try to predict the lottery numbers.  He also tries to get him in, nice and early, to the local private school and this sees him [Mr Khan] going to extraordinary lengths, which involves a fitness regime around Birmingham. He’s also left holding the baby and has to change nappies, so it’s great fun.”

Focusing on the Birmingham fitness regime filming, I asked how the Birmingham public had received Mr Khan when he took to the city streets to film those scenes back in August and how important is was for Adil, as a Brummie, to bring some of the series into the centre of his home city.

Mr Khan poses for a selfie with one of the community in the Cathedral Square

Mr Khan poses for a selfie with one of the community in the Cathedral Square

His response was extremely enthusiastic. “It was really important and it was great fun actually. It was quite trippy, with members of the public not really knowing what was going on and then they spot you and they start taking selfies with you, so it was fantastic and Mr Khan was in his element meeting the general public. It was really important that we did something like this, the show is set in Birmingham and we try to film in Birmingham whenever we can, it’s a great city and it looks fantastic. We filmed around the council house, on Colmore Row and the Cathedral Park and it was really important we got some of that on camera and try to contribute to the buzz that is going on about Birmingham at the moment and people will watch the show on BBC One and think, ‘Oh, Birmingham looks nice, we might pay a visit.'”

“The reception was amazing, we were running around and started high fiving people at bus stops and they were all amazing. Buses were stopping, in fact one bus driver stopped his bus and got off to have a photo taken with me, and I was ‘Hang on, shouldn’t you be driving that bus’, and he said, ‘No it’s OK, I have to have a picture with you first’, so it was good fun.

I know it sounds corny, but it just felt like home, and it is home for me. There is something very special about the people of Birmingham, they really do get behind cultural stuff and they are great supporters and they all put a big smile on my face, it was fantastic.”

Adil seemed very proud of his home city and it’s people so I took the chance to ask what he thought about the latest addition to the city, the new Grand Central and New Street station.

He joked, “It’s amazing, I’ve only got lost three times so far,” before continuing to say, “It’s brilliant and long overdue as Birmingham train station of old really needed something to be done about it but this is fantastic and I think that without King’s Cross in London, it is by far the best train station in the country. For you to get off a train in Birmingham and see that as your first view of the city is brilliant. With everything else that is being developed and the plans for up towards Victoria Square in years to come, the new tram system as well going down to the business quarter, it’s looking really, really great and I just hope Mr Khan gets a slice of it somewhere.

The only thing that’s missing around Victoria Square is room for a Mr Khan statue, that’s really important. I think it’s about time Birmingham showed some respect for it’s leaders, you know there’s, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Chamberlain and Mr Khan, it’s got to go that way.”

With the series four preview screening due to take place on Tuesday 27 October on Broad Street, I asked Adil what we can expect from the event.

Mr Khan hands out high fives to the Colmore Row bus queue.

Mr Khan hands out high fives to the Colmore Row bus queue.

Adil sounded like he was really looking forward to the event, explaining, “It’s going to be great. It’s a chance for us to get back into character, we’ll turn up on Broad Street in the yellow Merc and it would be great if people could come down. We love it, I know the cast love it, so it would be great to speak to as many people as possible, have pictures taken with as many as possible, so come down if you can at 6pm on Tuesday at Cineworld on Broad Street, it will be really good. It seemed like the right thing to do, we worked really hard and it’s nice to be able to give something back to Birmingham and share the moment and celebrate it with people from Birmingham.”

On Friday 23 October, Adil was on the judging panel for a Monologue Slam event at The Rep theatre, so I asked him about his involvement.

Adil seemed thrilled to be involved, saying, “What these guys put on is just brilliant. People can just turn up and take part, it’s basically for the next generation of actors and they come up and perform a one or a three minute piece, whether it’s something they’ve written themselves or they can do a bit of Shakespeare, or a scene from a play or anything they like I guess.

It’s a real privilege for me to sit and watch them because there will be some fantastic performances, and I’m not saying in any way that I’m an expert, but if it means that I can give people some sort of words of encouragement that helps them continue in their careers then that’s only got to be a good thing. I’m really looking forward to it, it should be really good and it’s at the Birmingham Rep, which is a fantastic venue.”

Staying on the theme of theatre, I asked Adil if he might follow Lenny Henry’s lead, following the staging of his radio show Rudy’s Rare Records at the Rep, and bring Citizen Khan to a live stage.

Adil revealed, “Yes, it’s something we are thinking about right now, doing a live tour of Citizen Khan. There are lots of logistics that go with it and it depends on the size and scale of what we’d want to do but it’s certainly something we are considering and hopefully we’ll try to do something like that next year.”

Series 4 of Citizen Khan starts Friday 30th October 2015.

Series 4 of Citizen Khan starts Friday 30 October 2015.

My final question was really aimed at the character rather than the actor as I asked Adil what Mr Khan would make of the latest from the England vs Pakistan test series and particularly the performance of Adil Rashid.

Adil started to answer on Mr Khan’s behalf, before being interrupted by the Sparkhill community leader himself, who said, “At the moment, I’m a Pakistani, Ok. At the moment I support Pakistan, but in five years time I will support England, you know why?  Because they will all be Pakistanis by then.”

Adil took over again and jokingly explained, “What’s happening there is a sign of the times, you’ve already got Adil Rashid, Mooen Ali, there will be no Cooks, there will be no Indians they will all be Pakistanis and that will keep Mr Khan very happy indeed, and he’ll be looking forward to that day.”

Citizen Khan will be back on screen with seven new episodes from Friday 30 October on BBC One at 8.30pm and don’t forget to look and listen out for Mr Khan all day around the city on Tuesday 27 October and tweet your sightings using the hashtag #CKtakeover

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Free preview screening of Citizen Khan in Birmingham

Registration is open for preview screening of Citizen Khan

Series 4 of Citizen Khan starts Friday 30th October 2015.

Series 4 of Citizen Khan starts Friday 30th October 2015. Image Copyright: BBC

A preview screening of two episodes of BBC One’s award winning, primetime sitcom Citizen Khan is to take place in Birmingham city centre on Tuesday 27 October and the BBC is giving local audiences an opportunity to be part of the event.

Birmingham-born Adil Ray (Mr Khan) along with and co-stars Bhavna Limbachia (Alia Khan), Abdullah Afzal (Amjad Malik), Adlyn Ross (Naani) and Krupa Pattani (Shazia Malik) will be in town for the red carpet screening at Cineworld on Broad Street, and audiences will have the chance to join them for a night of comedy.

Details of how to register for tickets for the event are now live via the BBC Shows and Tours website: bbc.co.uk/showsandtours

Now in its fourth series, Citizen Khan is a sitcom set in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham. The show follows the trials and tribulations of larger-than-life self-appointed community leader Mr Khan and his family. The opening episode to be screened at the preview sees the return of comedy legend Peter Bowles (To The Manor Born) return to our screens.

Adil Ray, creator and lead actor in Citizen Khan, said he’s delighted that the screening will be taking place in his home town.

“I’m very much looking forward to celebrating the new series of Citizen Khan with the people of Birmingham. I owe so much to our great city so it’s only right that we share this moment together. Plus Mr Khan needs to shift a few DVDs. He’s currently flogging VHS copies of Crossroads if anyone’s interested?”

Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Birmingham says: “We’re really pleased to be holding the screening of Citizen Khan on its home turf, Birmingham.

“It’s fantastic to have a major BBC One peak time comedy set here and I look forward to watching our city on the big screen alongside our audiences.”

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