A new Channel 4 sitcom, MEET THE MAGOONS, centres around four Glaswegian Asians working in the Spice Indian restaurant. Allan Radcliffe meets the show’s author and star, Hardeep Singh Kohli.

eveloping a sitcom is arguably the most thankless task in British television. liven the most resilient of funny men and women have been reduced to shrieking wrecks by the indignity of having their lovingly crafted six-part opus hacked to pieces by network committee only to see the resulting production

shelved on completion. Then. when the fruits of

their comedic labours have eventually been broadcast to widespread critical disdain and public indifference. it's a sad inevitability that the axe will fall on their efforts after one solitary series.

It is therefore refreshing to hear Hardeep Singh Kohli the talent behind (‘hannel 4‘s Meet the Magoo/is outline his relatively painless experience of transporting the brand new sitcom

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from inspiration right through to polished. finished product. And Kohli of all people should have a purchase on proceedings. As writer. director and co—star. the Glasgow—born all— rounder did everything on the series up to and including developing the film containing 'I‘he Mugmms himself.

‘It was an absolute joy of an experience because the channel really wanted it.’ he says. ‘The tricky bit is whether the public find it funny. because we're incrediny cultured about comedy in this country. Having your name so firmly attached to something is amazing. but a bit freaky because if it‘s shite. people can say. “Oh. it‘s that bloke off the telly.”

The premise of Meet the Magnum may already be familiar to fans of Channel 4’s (‘omedy Lab

strand (which also brought such gems as Peter Kay's Phoenix .\"ights to the great sitcom- viewing public’s attention). The action centres around four young Glaswegian Asians who work in the Spice Indian restaurant. Nitin (.\'itin (ianatra from Bride and l’re/m/iee) is the manager who longs to impress his father (The Krona/1v" Vincent librahim) with his prowess. only for Magoon senior to constantly compare him unfavourath with ‘\\'elsh Waiter" l’aul (Paul Shanna). Brothers Sanjeev (SIi/l (Mme) and Hardeep Kohli complete the dysfunctional quartet as Surjit and llamish. respectively the chilled out Magoon and the King of'l‘rivia. As in the pilot. which saw .\'itin and the gang stumbling into the world of gangsters. ending up naked by the roadside with a stash of cash. each episode follows the incompetent foursome into a new crisis that inevitably leaves them without clothes. having incurred the wrath of .\'itin's dad.

While Kohli’s formative years spent working in Indian resturants proved a fertile source of comic material. he admits that the Spice is little more than a stage on which to set lots of slapstick and visual gags.

‘Yes. it’s got remarkably little to do with Indian food.‘ he laughs. “Although what the restaurant setting does is give the story a world and a hierarchy. which is always interesting to explore in comedy. When I set about writing The Magoo/is. the Spice was very important as it gave me the colour and shape of the show but