From Persia with love

Iranian Djalili wows US critics

Omid Djalili has been lauded by critics for his prime-time American TV debut

The British-Iranian stand-up landed a major role in Whoopi Goldberg's new sitcom Whoopi, which premieres on NBC tonight.

Previews have generally slated the show, set in a tiny New York hotel and written by Third Rock From The Sun creators Bonnie and Terry Turner.

But Djalili has been singled out for praise for his role as handyman Nasim, even though the character is branded one-dimensional.

In the New York Times, Alessandra Stanley wrote: "Djalili weaves subtle strands of personality into the caricature."

The Seattle Post's Melanie McFatland branded the show "a failure that bludgeons viewers with ham-fisted racial humor and crass stereotypes, but called Djalili "the funniest actor in the series,".

And in the Boston Star, Matthew Gilbert wrote: " Djalili, known in Britain for his stand-up work, delivers his lines with great energy, but they are merely the same line over and over again."

Djalili has previously had small roles in the Hollywood movies including Gladiator and The Mummy, and starred in Tommy Tiernan's Channel 4 sitcom Hot Potatoes.

Video: NBC preview 56k | Broadband

Published: 9 Sep 2003

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