Djalili slams TV chiefs

Omid Djalili has hit out at TV 'tossers' who tried to make his documentary about asylum-seekers funnier.

The stand-up's Channel 4 film, Bloody Foreigners, was widely acclaimed and has been nominated in tomorrow night's One World Media Awards.

But while his empathy for the refugees he met shone through, Djalili was unhappy with the gimmick of trying to live on the asylum-seekers' handout of £5 a day.

He told The Guardian: "My whole problem was with the notion: 'It's about asylum-seekers, now let's make it fun.'

"This is not a funny subject. You can't play with people's lives just to make a joke.

"I wanted to do a programme that was entertaining, educational, slightly elevating and showed the asylum issue as a global concern. To a certain extent, I think it did that, although it finished up as a bit of a pop documentary."

The show has led Channel 4 to offer Iranian Djalili six more films in a similar vein, although he still seems a little uneasy at some of their ideas, such as a meeting with Fidel Castro.

"They want me to be a cross between Louis Theroux and an ethnic Mark Thomas," he said.

Published: 11 Jun 2001

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