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Cafe 21 was an Asian talk show on BBC2 in the late 1990s. Below is part of a press release for the show:
“In November 1997, Café 21 was first broadcast on BBC2, it was regarded as a milestone in Asian programming as it gave young Asians a voice on national television.
During its first series it became a talking point in its own right, tackling issues such as Asian Identity, Families and Sexuality which put the show on the broadcasting map. Challenging British Asian stereotypes has always been of key importance in Café 21, the ‘cornershops and curry’ myth has been exploded ever since the first show.
Café 21 balanced hard hitting opinions and person stories to create what could be described as a ‘chat show – soap’.
There are 20 contributors in the Café, the 21st being the presenter Rajesh Mirchandani who also presents the BBC music show ‘The Ozone’.
Being on Café 21 has certainly encouraged some of our former contributors to take the plunge into uncharted waters:
- Narinder Kaur has since had a part as a gangster girlfriend in a forthcoming ‘Bollywood’ film called London.
- Ashish Joshi has his own column in cult Asian magazine ‘Snoop’.
- Victor Agarwal became the first Asian local councillor in his borough at the tender age of 24.
- Ritu Dhammi has become the drivetime presenter on Radio Sabras in Leicester. She feels being on Café 21 built her confidence as a broadcaster.
- Kevin Sherwani was a struggling stand up comedian, since appearing on Café 21 he has now secured a regular slot on the Comedy Store in London.
- Krish Majumdar has since decided on a career in broadcasting by getting a place on ITNs news training scheme.
- Anif Abdul became a R&B presenter on London based Kiss FM Radio.
Now the third series is about to go into production and we are looking for contributors. This time however we are opening up to any young person who wants to air their views on television, Asian or non Asian. So if you are between 16 and 29 and have views on Asian issues contact us now!”
Thanks to Dharmesh Rajput for sharing this information.