Meera Syal

Meera Syal

Date of birth: 27-06-1961

Meera Syal was born in Wolverhampton and was educated at Manchester University where she read English and drama, gaining a double first.

Her career began at the Royal Court, and she quickly graduated to screenwriting – penning Bhaji on the Beach in 1993 and My Sister Wife in 1994 – as well as writing and performing in the pioneering comedy sketch-show The Real McCoy in the early 1990s.

  In 1996 Syal joined the cast and writing team of the sketch show Goodness Gracious Me, which ran until 2001, when she began her role as grandmother Ummi in the chat show The Kumars at No. 42.

  She is also a novelist, with two of her books being adapted for the screen: Anita and Me (2002) and Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee (2005).

  Her TV and film credits include Beautiful People), Dr Who, Horrible Histories, Back To Life, Doctor Strange, Paddington 2 and Yesterday.


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© Bafta/Rachell Smith

The Kumars could be making a comeback

America's Fox network orders a taster

The Kumars could be returning to TV - but in America.

Original stars Sanjeev Bhaskar, his wife Meera Syal and Vincent Ebrahim will reprise their roles in a short tester episode ordered by the Fox network.

Titled Meet the Kumars, the new series will – like original BBC series The Kumars At No. 42 – be  a blend of scripted comedy, improv and interview show

The original ran for seven series totalling 53 episodes between 2001 and 2006 – winning two International Emmys on the way – and was revived by Sky for a one-off series in 2014.

This is not the first time Fox has expressed an interest in the format. Six episodes of a ew version of the show was made in 2003 with a Latino-American family called The Ortegas and featuring Cheech Marin, but  necer made it to air. And the original BBC series is available on Fox’s streaming platform Tubi,

Deadline reports that Shaheen Khan will be joining the cast as Rani, Sandjeev’s new stepmom. She previously played a fictionalised version of Romesh Ranganathan's mum, renamed Jayanthi, in the comedian’s Sky comedy The Reluctant Landlord. 

The so-called ‘presentation’ reel will be made by Hat Trick Productions, the company  behind the original serie

Managing director Jimmy Mulville told Deadline: ‘We’re thrilled to be working with Fox on this presentation and look forward to introducing our much loved Kumars family to an American audience.

 Michael Thorn, Fox Entertainment’s president of scripted programming said the network was trying to rebuilt its reputation for live-action comedies.

He called The Kumars a ‘unique family comedy with [a] strong point of view’ as well as a ;universality’ that he hoped could ‘resonate the same way that Schitt’s Creek did with that unique family.’

The trial is   due to be filmed at the BBC’s Elstree Studios on March 13 and free tickets are available here.

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Published: 23 Feb 2024

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