Meera Syal: TV's portrayal of British Asians has 'gone backwards'

Meera Syal: TV's portrayal of British Asians has 'gone backwards'

Meera Syal has voiced her frustration at how the portrayal of Asians on TV has "slightly gone backwards".

The writer and comedian said TV should not just feature South Asian characters in dramas like BBC One's Three Girls, about the Rochdale abuse scandal.

"Of course it's not like those things don't happen," the Goodness Gracious Me star told Radio Times.

"But if that's all that TV is doing, it looks like that's the only thing Asians do. It's a problem."

Three Girls is based on a child sexual exploitation ring that saw nine men, mainly of Pakistani origin, jailed in 2012 for grooming white girls.


Syal made her name in the 1990s as one of the stars of sketch show Goodness Gracious Me and is also known as a screenwriter and as an author of novels including Anita and Me.

Meera Syal: TV's portrayal of British Asians has 'gone backwards'

Asked whether TV had made progress in showing Asians in Britain, Syal replied: "I think we've slightly gone backwards.

"Some of the stuff I'd want to have on TV wouldn't get on at the moment. It's a conservative climate with lots of period pieces and lots of nostalgia.

"When people think of stuff with South Asians in, it tends to be programmes like the upcoming Rochdale abuse drama."

She added: "If there were five or six or seven shows on TV featuring South Asians, then absolutely Rochdale is a worthy subject to investigate - but it's about context.

"We should also be thinking about stories that just show us as people, not issues."



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