The Kumars at No. 42
|The Kumars at No. 42|
|Also known as||The Kumars at No. 42B|
|Created by||Sharat Sardana|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||7|
|No. of episodes||53|
|Location(s)||The Fountain Studios|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Hat Trick Productions
|Original channel||BBC Two (12 November 2001 – 26 December 2004)
BBC One (27 May 2005 – 18 August 2006)
|Original run||12 November 2001– 18 August 2006|
The show stars a fictional British Indian family, including Madhuri and Ashwin Kumar (played by Indira Joshi and Vincent Ebrahim), their thirty-something son Sanjeev (played by Sanjeev Bhaskar), and Sushila, Sanjeev's grandmother, normally referred to as Ummi (played by Meera Syal). The family lives in Wembley, London, England. The show's central premise is that Sanjeev's parents have supported his dream of being a TV presenter by having a TV studio built on what used to be their back garden. Running jokes include Sanjeev's apparent social ineptitude, and Ashwin's obsession with financial matters and his tendency to tell long stories with no real point, and Ummi's stories of her absurd exploits with her childhood friend Saraswati the bicycle (so named because of her contortionist skills). It is also a regular conceit that the guests' appearance fees are paid in chutney.
The show has an improvisational feel, though in reality much of the regular cast's performance was scripted. In the early episodes only Meera Syal improvised to any great extent, though as the cast became accustomed to their characters the improvised content increased. Bhaskar stated in a 2009 interview, "We never rehearsed the guests, and the best ones were the ones to keep the ball in the air."
When talking about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for the British Book Awards, Sanjeev Bhaskar stated that he chose 42 as the house number because in the Hitchhiker's series 42 features prominently as the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Sanjeev Bhaskar told interviewer Mark Lawson in August 2007 that the inspiration for the series was an embarrassing evening when he took a girlfriend to meet his parents. They asked her awkward questions and he wondered how they would react if he invited a famous person to his home. Ashwin and Madhuri are exaggerated versions of his own parents.
The show's UK debut was on 12 November 2001 on BBC Two. It was produced by Hat Trick Productions and Pariah Television. Seven series of the programme have aired on BBC Two (and latterly on BBC One), with the seventh shown in 2006. In an interview for Radio Times in May 2007, Bhaskar confirmed that the show had run its course and there were no plans for any further series.
The Kumars also made a guest appearance on the 2003 Comic Relief single "Spirit in the Sky" performed by Gareth Gates. They also starred in the video. It reached number 1 in the charts and sold more than 550,000 copies.
The Kumars at Number 42 was also shown in Asia (including India and Malaysia) on the Star World satellite TV channel and on SABC in South Africa. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation screens it in Australia and its previous time slot being right before hugely successful Australian comedy Kath & Kim made the programme hugely successful there. It is also very popular in New Zealand, where it is screened by Television New Zealand. It has been broadcast in the United States on BBC America, and in Canada, the programme can be viewed on BBC Canada, a digital cable channel, weeknights at 9:00 North American Eastern Time. It was shown in Sweden, as Curry Curry talkshow, by SVT2 in 2004, and in the Netherlands on the public broadcasting foundation NPS (Nederland 3). It is also shown in Switzerland on Swiss TV station DRS. In India it was also aired on Comedy Central.
In August 2002, the American channel NBC entered a deal to buy the format but later dropped out.
A new version of the show was planned for Sunday evenings on Fox, restyled as a show in the 2003-04 season featuring a Latino-American family called The Ortegas and featuring Cheech Marin. However the program was dropped from Fox's post-baseball playoffs schedule to focus the network's schedule on the success of The O.C. at the time, and became another one of Fox's series which were scheduled, but never made it to air. Six episodes were produced, but never aired.
ARY Digital has produced a Pakistani version of the show called Ghaffar at Dhoraji featuring a Gujarati family living in Karachi. Sony Television has produced an Indian version of the show called Batliwalla House No. 43 featuring a Parsee family living in Mumbai.
In Russia, Channel One made the Armenian version of the show called Rubik Vsemogushchiy (en: Rubik Allmighty; Rubik is a short for the Armenian name Ruben). The idea of the show was that an Armenian named Rubik (played by Ruben Dzhaginyan) and his family interview the Russian stars (such as pop singers Vera Brezhneva and Anna Semenovich; TV presenters Dmitri Dibrov, Timur Rodriguez (real name Timur Yunusov), Valdis Pelsh and Sergey Svetlakov; and actors Igor Vernik and Anastasia Zavorotnyuk). There were just four episodes of the show, and it was soon taken off the air because of the critics. 
Sky1 revival pilot
The pilot will focus on a divorced Sanjeev and his family who now live in a flat (No. 42B) behind their Hounslow gift shop. The pilot was set to air sometime in 2012 but as of April 2013 remains unaired.
- 2002 International Emmy Awards, Internet Movie Database.
- 2003 International Emmy Awards, Internet Movie Database.
- "Why comedians are dubbing Hollywood". The Independent. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- Mark Lawson (20 August 2007). Mark Lawson Talks To... Sanjeev Bhaskar (Television production) (in English). BBC Four.
- "Gates tops the charts". BBC. 16 March 2003. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- 17 May 2003, 5:01pm EDT (17 May 2003). "'The Ortegas' to air on Fox, Sunday nights - TV News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "MEDIA; Fox Drops 'The Ortegas' but Insists the Show Has Not Been Canceled - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 6 October 2003. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- Brown, Aaron (1 May 2012). "The Kumars to return with new TV show pilot". The British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
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