An evening with Citizen Khan
Last Tuesday we headed to Cineworld on Broad Street to attend an advance screening of series 4 of Citizen Khan. We would be treated to two episodes of the popular BBC1 sitcom ahead of their broadcast, but not before a grand entrance from and a brief audience with Sparkhill’s most prolific resident and self-appointed community leader Mr. Khan
The patriarch arrived predictably late – pulling right up to the edge of the red carpet in his 1970’s canary yellow Mercedes with horn blaring – it was a suitably fitting entrance and a real crown pleaser. The majority of the Khan family were also in tow but Mr Khan took centre stage.
Spending a lot of time with the assembled crowd, Khan chatted to his fans and took a number of selfies with them. I got the opportunity to ask Mr Khan what his top 3 things to do in Birmingham were. He said… well take a look for yourself…
Throughout the day Mr. Khan had been out and about/ let loose in the city - he was mobbed at Birmingham New Street, where he took control of the train announcements – I heard him tell the journo next to me that he did it to’ control who came in and out of the city’ and to ’make sure that residents of Nuneaton returned home’. Here are some choice snippets from his tenure behind the mic.
Welcome to Birmingham, home of many great places like the Balti Triangle, Asian Villa Football Club and, of course, the Central Mosque.
This train is only going to Birmingham International. But remember, once you get to Birmingham International you can get to Pakistan!
Once inside Cineworld's foyer our blue BBC wristbands of justice got us through the fray and up the escalator - unfortunately we then took a wrong turn - a real Amjad moment. Sitting in screen 9 I noticed an audience that did not scream premiere - a lot of couples. After a brief enquiry I discovered we were sitting in a showing of Spectre - a short while later and we were sitting in the right screen! The auditorium was pretty packed and myself and colleague Jon hotfooted it to an empty row - once seated we realised it was empty because everyone was undoubtedly apprehensive about sitting next to Sunny and Shay - the husband and wife DJ team from Radio WM– they seemed very nice.
Before the main event Joe Godwin, the Director of BBC Academy and BBC Birmingham played an enlightening film which showcased the number of programmes that are filmed in the city – many more than you would think.
We then watched the first two episodes of the Citizen Khan - ‘Family photo’ and ‘Farley Manor’- Before the screening I must admit I was not overly familiar with Citizen Khan, but these two episodes won me over and I will certainly be watching the rest of the series. With its affable laugh-out-loud script and culture clash premise, it’s easy to see why it is so popular and has earned a place in a prime time BBC slot.
My favourite scene from the two episodes was a Rocky-esque training montage which included some familiar locations in the city including Pigeon Park and Victoria Square – for this new series drone aerial footage of Birmingham also gives some fantastic views of the city.
After the screening a Q&A was held with the majority of the cast including Adil Ray - Mr Khan, creator and co-writer of the show, Addullah Afzal who plays nitwit Amjad, Adlyn Ross AKA Naani, Nish Nathwani who plays Riaz and new cast member Krupa Pattani who plays the new Shazia Khan.
The cast discussed filming, the duck out of water premise and how it could be applied to any nationality, the creation of the character, breaking into the industry, the BBC Training Academy in Birmingham and the possibility of a feature film. It was a fascinating discussion.
Afterwards the great and the good with gold wristbands sloped off through a side door for more shenanigans – we checked ours – nope still blue – so we decamped to a local watering hole to discuss our new appreciation of the Sparkhill legend.
You can catch Citizen Khan on Friday evenings on BBC One at 8.30pm
21 March - 10 June
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