1 9 9 8 – 2 0 0 0 (UK)
18 x 30 minute episodes
Goodness Gracious Me began life as a Radio 4 comedy from the team of Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kulvinder Ghir, and Nina Wadia.
Sending up British and Asian cultures – with catchphrases such as “Kiss my chuddies!” and “Rasmalai!” and stock characters such as Smita Smitten (Showbiz Kitten) and the Bhangramuffins – Goodness Gracious Me exposed stereotypes and tackled serious issues of race, sex, and sexuality through feel-good comedy.
It was the first British sketch show to feature an all-Asian cast but was easily accessible to a predominantly white audience.
“Going for an English” featured a group of Bombay youths going to the local Berni Inn, insulting the waiter and daring one another to order the blandest dish on the menu, playing on the Anglo-coined shorthand for an Indian meal.
Although the show exploded Asian stereotypes, much of the material relied on Asians debunking their own customs and double standards. In one episode, when a young gay Indian man brings home his white partner, Simon, to meet his parents, his mother cries, “But “Simon”? You couldn’t have found a nice Indian boy?”
In another, a group of Indian tourists visiting England complain about the number of beggars, try to haggle over the price of the Evening Standard, and advise fellow travellers to drink bottled water. One of them feels so at home, though, that he ends up settling in Hounslow.
This unique form of self-parody made the show popular with viewers and critics.