BBC Comedy About British-Pakistani Family Draws Complaints

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Regulator Ofcom is considering an investigation after some viewers said the first episode of "Citizen Khan" used Muslim stereotypes and insulted Islam.


LONDON - U.K. media regulator Ofcom is mulling a potential investigation into new BBC1 comedy Citizen Khan, which features a modern British-Pakistani family in Birmingham and drew complaints that it uses Muslim stereotypes and insults Islam, the Guardian reported.

The BBC launched the show on Monday night and had received 187 complaints by Tuesday, the paper said. The regulator has seen about 20 complaints so far, it added.

A probe would focus on whether the public broadcaster broke any British broadcasting rules in such areas as viewer harm and offensive content.

Citizen Khan refers to the protagonist's life as a self-appointed Muslim community leader and is also a pun referencing Orsen Welles' movie classic Citizen Cane.

The first episode of the six-part series drew an average viewership of 3.6 million people, or a 21.5 percent share of people watching TV at the time.

In the debut episode, the stingy protagonist failed to book the local mosque for his daughter's wedding and tries to persuade the mosque's manager to do him a favor.

The show included a scene that showed the Khan family discussing how much toilet paper to use and one that showed the younger daughter in full make-up reading a magazine before putting on a headscarf and pretending to read the Koran when her father walked into the room. The mother was portrayed as mostly concerned with cleaning and washing, and the father in a scene joked that his daughter's wedding wasn't her big day. "More like big four days," he said.

The show airs in the 10:20-10:50 p.m. time slot.

Twitter: @georgszalai