Goodness Gracious Me saw another welcome return of a popular series, in this case, a one-off episode to celebrate BBC2's India season. Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nina Wadia and Kulvinder Ghir (not forgetting "token white" Dave Lamb) were back for a series of sketches set in the motherland.
Two decades on from the "Going for an English" skit that made the comedy show famous, its continued success lies in its ability to mock Indian stereotypes while simultaneously sending up white British culture. Cue Syal swigging from a wine bottle and swearing to try to win favour with a "Britisher" from the East India Company, while a familiar Maharaja Kumar from "Chigwellipoor" (who earned the biggest cheer of the night) fought to sign everything he owned over to the admiral.
"Brownton Abbey" saw Highclere Castle turned into a Taj Mahal equivalent, with Carson's alter-ego spitting on the cut glass. There was ample room for some witty cultural comparisons, but the Brownton sketches missed some brilliant opportunities to mock the British class and Indian caste systems, instead relying on an old "will I bollocks" granny character.
At least Bhaskar, posing as Raj Grantham, dismissing his daughters' beauty because they were dressed in burqas showed the sitcom was still prepared to take risks. You do have to wonder if white British comedians would be able to get away with the same jokes though.Reuse content