Queens unexpected favourite TV show with monarch able to recite one-liners

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Her Majesty the Queen’s personal political views have always been a closely-guarded secret, and some of her other preferences are relatively unknown too.

For example, no-one really knows what the monarch’s favourite TV show is. Until now.

Former BBC sports reporter Phil Jones says Her Majesty revealed the name of her favourite programme to him in an interview way back in 2001, but it’s only now that he feels able to share the secret.

Phil says kept the conversation to himself for 21 years because someone once told him that journalists shouldn't reveal private anything said privately by the monarch.

However, as he prepares to hang up his BBC Radio 2 microphone, he thinks it might be time to let the rest of us in on the secret.

Rather than some brainy documentary, or thought-provoking political programme, Phil says that Her Maj likes to relax in front of Emmy-winning sitcom The Kumars at No.42.

Hearing the news, star Sanjeev Bhaskar told The Daily Star that he'd been told that Her Majesty liked the show in the past but this is the first confirmation : "It is humbling to think that a show I came up with in my bedroom had such wide appeal.

"In the olden days I guess I would have become a Duke or something, but today I’ve got to sort out the recycling."

Sanjeev says that even though The Queen mentioned the show when he met her, he modestly assumed she'd just been "well briefed" by one of her staff.

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The Kumars centred around Sanjeev Kumar (played by Unforgotten's Sanjeev Bhaskar), and his dreams of becoming a top chat-show host.

He succeeded pretty well, actually, pulling in some top celebrity guests over the years, including Ray Winstone, James Corden and Wolverine star Hugh Jackman.

But his interviews are constantly interrupted by his eccentric family – in particular grandmother, normally referred to as Ummi – who was played by Sanjeev Bhaskar’s real-life wife Meera Syal.

Ummi’s little interjections, often improvised by Meera, were one of the show’s highlights, and Phil reveals that Her Majesty liked to memorise the cheeky one-liners and sneak them into everyday conversations.

In an article for New Statesman magazine, Phil explained: "In 2001 I was invited to a media function at Buckingham Palace.

"We chatted for ages, which I can tell you is rather surreal. My brain kept saying, 'Bloody hell I’m talking to the Queen and I can’t think of a single thing to say!'

"In the end, I alighted on, 'What’s your favourite programme?' Straightaway, she said, ' The Kumars at No. 42' and, even more astonishingly, proceeded to recite some of the one-liners from the grandma character, played by the brilliant Meera Syal."

Sanjeev Bhaskar received an OBE in 2006 for services to entertainment, while wife Meera picked up a slightly more prestigious CBE in 2015.

The Kumars wasn’t specifically mentioned when the awards were announced, but we all know now.

  • BBC
  • Queen

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