The Kumars at No. 42 was originally a BBC comedy talk show that ran for seven series, a total of fifty three episodes. Making it’s debut on BBC2 in 2001, the show went on to win an International Emmy Award in 2002 and 2003.
In 2005, the Kumars moved to BBC1 where they remained until the show ended in 2006. The cast went on to have success in other areas.
In 2012 a pilot entitled The Kumars at No. 42B, was screened on Sky One for a revival of the show. Although the basic chat show style was maintained a whole new background and setting featuring a divorced Sanjeev and his family who now live in a flat (No. 42B) behind their Hounslow gift shop. The pilot was a success and on 15th January 2014 a new six part series began entitled The Kumars.
In 2003 the Kumars also made a guest appearance on the official Comic Relief single “Spirit in the Sky” performed by Gareth Gates. They also starred in the video. Reaching number 1 in the charts it sold over 550,000 copies.
The show revolves around a fictional British Indian family, including Madhuri and Ashwin Kumar (played by Indira Joshi and Vincent Ebrahim), their thirtysomething son Sanjeev (played by Sanjeev Bhaskar), and Sushila, Sanjeev’s grandmother, normally referred to as Ummi (played by Meera Syal). The family lives in Wembley, London, England.
The idea is Sanjeev’s parents are supporting his dream of being a television presenter by having a TV studio built on what used to be their back garden. Guests come to visit the family, this takes the form of a chat show with all the characters getting to ask questions.
There are running jokes through the show these include Sanjeev’s apparent social ineptitude, and Ashwin’s obsession with financial matters and his tendency to tell long stories with no real point, and Ummi’s stories of her absurd exploits with her childhood friend Saraswati the bicycle (so named because of her contortionist skills). It is also a regular conceit that the guests’ appearance fees are paid in chutney.
The Revived Series
Channel: BBC2 (2001 – 2004), BBC1 (2005 – 2006)
Created By: Sharat Sardana
Produced By: Hat Trick Productions for BBC
Original Transmission Dates:
12th November 2001 – 18th August 2006 (original series)
14th January – present (revived series)