Integrating new immigrants, old-skool style

by Sunny, on 13th October, 2005

Dominic Casciani has written an eye-opening piece in today’s BBC magazine about the first Asian programme launched on the Beeb 40 years ago this week.

Apna Hi Ghar Samajhiye taught our parents about the modern gas boilers; how to vote; leaving empty milk bottles outside every night; NHS registration cards and much more. Hehe, attempts at integration at their very best. How Trevor Phillips must yearn for those days again.

The series started on 10th October 1965 and ran for 14 years. Politicians saw it as a potential way to get votes so Maggie Thatcher came on twice and Jim Callaghan once. Mahendra Kaul, now 83, anchored from 1966 with Saleem Shahed. Enoch wasn’t too enthusiatic about it.

“I remember one day meeting him at a luncheon and I asked him, ‘Mr Powell, why don’t you take part in our programme?’. And he said, ‘As an MP, I have to advise my own people first’. Well, I said to him, aren’t our audience now your people too?”
Another point also made by one of the responses. We had to fight for a slot for Asians then, and 40 years later we’re still doing the same. Hmmmm.

Entry Filed under: Media, Culture

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sunny  |  October 13th, 2005 at 3:27 pm

    The page also has a link to the video you can watch. Cue David Gretton making a valiant attempt in speaking Hindi! Gwaaan brotha!

  • 2. coruja  |  October 13th, 2005 at 5:21 pm

    Indeed, David Gretton’s Hindustani is better than mine, I would love too read a translated transcript of this.

    Things really haven’t changed that much in the Asian community - I’m sure half way through there is an interview with a Chartered Accountant, about how to become one I’m sure. (And how dapper that man is, that moustache is undoubtedly ‘rakish’.)

    And judging by the few comments left by english people, things really haven’t changed much in attitude of the hosts either: learn english and everything will be OK.

  • 3. Leslie  |  October 13th, 2005 at 7:46 pm

    At least when Asians fight for a slot they get it!

    Compare it to the Jewish community, we have never had any type of regular series or any type of cultural show.

    cheers

    Leslie

  • 4. Kulvinder  |  October 14th, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    Any programming is done porportionally to the size of whatever ‘community’ concerned. The ‘asian’ community, taken as a whole is represented, however this implies a level of homogeny that simply doesn’t exist within the community itself.

    Id hazzard a guess that more people know about judaism and its cultural aspects than Sikhism, despite the latter having more people in the UK than the former. Im not implying anything by that, its just the way it is.

    Besides Jews have played an incredibly important role in the formation of British television (particularly ITV). Perhaps you query about the ‘lack’ of representative output should be put to them directly.

  • 5. Nush  |  October 17th, 2005 at 9:46 pm

    what bout network east on sunday mornings?

    the mahabarat on channel 4?

    that was pretty dominant in a lot of non asian mates memories….

    in the general sense of it, asian programming contrasted with asian presence are two different sides of the coin and yes 40 years on have much to be anticipated still!

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