BBC announces The Big British Asian Summer


The BBC has announced a special programming season dedicated to British Asians this summer.

Confirming the plans, Alison Kirkham, Controller, BBC Factual Commissioning, said, “The Big British Asian Summer is a wonderfully rich season of programmes from across the BBC exploring the cultural, social and familial impact of these two regions of the world coming together. From Bollywood to Sharwoods, the season will encompass a huge range of shows – sometimes celebratory, sometimes challenging, always inspiring. Today’s announcements are just the start. There’s much more to come as we look to an exciting Summer of programmes.”

Fozia Khan, Channel Commissioner, BBC Two, said, “We are delighted that BBC Two will be at the heart of the Big British Asian Summer. From nostalgic cookery series A Taste of Home (with restaurateur, Nisha Katona) to the major social history series Passengers (presented by historian Yasmine Khan) the season promises to be both celebratory and questioning.

“The season is a brilliant way for BBC Two to champion the unique creativity that emerges from the coming together of cultures, as well as showcasing new talent and tackling big important questions about identity and belonging from different perspectives.”

The Big British Asian Summer will celebrate the cultural and artistic contribution of Asian Britons, and also explore the fault lines between white and non-white Britain – as this unique fusion of cultures hasn’t happened without tensions.

Programmes include a three-part series ‘Passengers’, which uses extraordinary archive to piece together the lives of arrivals to Britain from the Indian subcontinent 1930s and 1960s and a two-part series with Anita Rani exploring a world that has captured the imaginations of some British Asians so wholeheartedly that they are traveling East to seek fame and fortune – that of Bollywood. One-off film Leicester Sings (w/t) is Brian Hill’s new documentary musical for BBC One telling the story of a family, exiled from Uganda in 1972, arriving in Leicester with nothing and becoming a glorious success story of immigration and multiculturalism.

In ‘A Taste Of Home cook’ Nisha Katona’ will reveal the secrets of incredible homemade curries. And there will be specially commissioned episodes of BBC Two favourites Inside The Factory, which will shine a spotlight on curry, and Gardeners’ World, which will celebrate South Asian influences on British Gardens. BBC Four will broadcast a documentary on last Maharajah of the Punjab, who was wrenched from his mother’s arms as a child and put into the care of an official of the British Empire.

In ‘British Asian Men’ (w/t) presenter Mehreen Baig will explore the stories of a number of different British Asian communities, and the challenges facing some of their young men, and Made In Asia: Looking For Mum (w/t) tells the unfolding story of four women adopted from the Indian subcontinent as a baby, trying to find their biological mothers.

‘Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry’ fronted by Anita Rani embarks on a journey through the extraordinary world of Indian cinema. She meets some of her big-screen idols and discovers how an industry based on centuries old traditions is racing to keep up with the changing tastes of one of the youngest countries on earth.

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