Farrukh Dhondy kicking off 1980's series with a good first episode
The plot of this is that Saeed Jafarey is the widowed owner of an Indian restaurant, The Jewel in The Crown, in London's East End. He is Punjabi and lives with his mother (Zohra Segal) and two daughters (one who is Rita Wolf of Beautiful Launderette fame). The older daughter is a socialist lawyer who runs the local community legal advice centre and the younger (Wolf) is a gobby college girl.
The chef of the restaurant is an oddball Bangladeshi, named Alaudin. He has entrusted the hiring of new staff to Alaudin, as his old staff have mutinied (which leaves the superior Punjabi Jafarey to say 'you can never trust a Bangladeshi') and decided to open up a new restaurant, The Far Pavillions (you get the literary joke)- and Alaudin is using nepotism to fill it with family relations (a funny old guy who suddenly becomes a wine waiter- joke is being Bangladeshi he is a teetotal Muslim) and also a young man who is obsessed with Rita Wolf, Saeed's daughter.
But she has her own problems with Jafarey's new squeeze, a white lady who Jafarey invites to the restaurant- however everyone is surprised with the white lady's reaction to the restaurant! Overall, I found this a sharp, well-written (with a few cracking lines), humorous traditional British Sit-com with an ethnic twist- a good first episode- everyone clearly feels a bit new and unsure of what they're doing but work well to get over this. Saeed Jafarey is, as ever, superb, and the playing in general is good. Also Jafarey's problems with an old man who, despite all his qualifications and previous status, cannot find a job (and has clearly cracked over his failure to land a job even as a waiter!) lend the mordant air to this sit-com which is so prevalent to British sit-coms, and which makes them in my view quite special.
On a last note, this was directed by Jon Amiel around the same time as his masterpiece, The Singing Detective.
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