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BBC heads Back In Time For Birmingham to look at British Asian family life

BBC Two’s popular history series Back In Time returns for a new series set in Birmingham.

Back In Time returns for a new series set in Birmingham. Photo: Paul Husband.
Back In Time returns for a new series set in Birmingham. Photo: Paul Husband.

The programme will follow the Sharma family, from Solihull, as they experience what life in the city would have been like for previous generations of South Asian Brits.

Back In Time for Birmingham was commissioned to coincide with the Commonwealth Games being held in the city this summer.

The series is presented by BBC Asian Network’s Noreen Khan, alongside social historian Dr Yasmin Khan.

It looks at the impact of arrivals from South Asia over the last 75 years.

Today nearly 250,000 Brummies, more than a quarter of the city’s population, have Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan heritage.

Starting in the 1950s when significant immigration from the Indian subcontinent began, the Sharma family - dad Vishal, mum Manisha and children Alisha and Akash will fast forward through five decades of rapid change, exploring every facet of British Asian family life.

They’ll take on the jobs of their predecessors, living where they lived, cooking what they ate and facing the same difficulties (how do you produce authentic home cooking when there’s only baked beans in the cupboard and no-one sells chilli?).

The Sharmas will also devote their spare time to the same leisure activities families enjoyed across the decades – from trips out to watch movies at the region’s first Asian cinema in the 50s, to entertaining the aunties at home in the 60s, enjoying a bhangra evening with musical legend Balbir Singh in the 70s, heading out for a picnic to celebrate the anniversary of partition and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and bunking school for a 90s daytime bhangra rave complete with glow sticks.

Presenter Noreen Khan said: “I’m genuinely so excited to be a part of this incredible series! Taking viewers on an insightful, emotional journey over five decades of the South Asian story will be fascinating. Can’t wait for everyone to watch this!”

Nasfim Haque, BBC Commissioning Editor, said: “I’m really looking forward to telling the story of Birmingham through the eyes of the British Asians who have made the city the vibrant and exciting place it is.”

The series will on BBC Two each day at 8pm starting Monday, June 20, until Thursday, June 23.

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