More TV Memories – The Kumars At No. 42.

The Kumars At No. 42 (BBC2, 2001-2004, BBC1, 2005-2006)/The Kumars (Sky One, 2014)

This is a comedy show with a difference, that features many of the people who contributed to sketch show Goodness Gracious Me. The Kumars At No. 42 was a comedy chat show, in a style similar to The Mrs Merton Show. The idea is that they are a family who live in London, and we see them at their home, which is rather unusual, because this contains a TV studio, and there’s plenty of room to fit in an audience too.

I can only imagine what their neighbours thought of all of this. Sanjeev invites various celebrities into his home, where they meet the rest of his family. He then goes on to conduct an interview, and asks various questions. But the fun comes in from his parents and gran who are watching on, and they like to interrupt and ask the guests much more outrageous questions.

And of course, this causes lots of amusing moments. Hopefully the celebrities have realised what they are letting themselves in for. But the decent line-ups that they managed to attract to take part (and get the joke) definitely enhanced this show. The Kumars At No. 42 ended up doing rather well for BBC2, appearing in a Monday evening slot for several series, winning awards, and then being promoted to BBC1 for the later series.

They ended up becoming popular enough to be chosen in 2003 to perform the single released in aid of that year’s Comic Relief. Their version of “Spirit In The Sky” went on to be a chart-topper (the third time that song has been Number One in this country), and they were even brave enough to collaborate with Gareth Gates on this. Well it might be no “The Stonk”, but it was still rather good fun.

There were some repeat runs on BBC Choice, but I don’t recall seeing this much in recent years though. But then, curiously, about a decade after the original version ended, Sky One briefly revived the idea, with the title being shortened to The Kumars, and the family picking up where they left off. Yet more celebrity guests took part, but this had run out of steam by this point and wasn’t as successful.


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