Crawley top comic Romesh Ranganathan will explore his Sri Lankan roots in a new television programme.
BBC Three film crews were at Romesh’s mother’s home in Southgate on Wednesday (July 15).
Romesh grew up in Crawley and lives with his wife and three children in Broadfield.
The six-part series Romesh’s Return Ticket will see the former Hazelwick maths teacher get in touch with his Sri Lankan roots.
He said: “I am both excited and nervous to be exploring the country of my heritage.
“My mum has long been frustrated with my lack of cultural understanding, and I am looking forward to her finally telling me that she loves me.”
The show will be broadcast later this year.
A spokesman said Romesh’s mother was sending him to Sri Lanka to become the ‘good Tamil boy’ she hoped he would be.
She had set up the people he will meet, the places he goes, the experiences he has in Sri Lanka.
The spokesman said: “Romesh, who considers himself British through and through, doesn’t speak a word of Tamil, has no idea about his cultural heritage and has almost zero desire to go to Sri Lanka.
“But his mum has other ideas and she’s sending him back to become the good Tamil boy she hoped he’d be.
“Romesh gets asked about his Asian roots all the time. But he can’t answer any of the questions he’s asked. While that is a constant source of shame and embarrassment, he can’t quite bring himself to do something about it.”
Ed Sleeman, commissioning editor, BBC Entertainment said: “We are delighted to commission Romesh to front this show where the audience is really going to get to know one of the finest comedians in Britain.”
Iain Wimbush, executive producer for production comonay Rumpus, said: “Romesh is a huge talent and it’s an absolute privilege to be working with him on such a personal project.
“This is a series where the rules of the traditional travelogue go out the window as his guides won’t be fixers and guide books – they’ll be his own Sri Lankan family who he neither knows nor understands. We’re very excited; he’s terrified.”
Each episode will be a mini-adventure revolving around one of the Ranganathan’s distant Sri Lankan friends or relations.
They’ll be taking him to the must see locations and will also be expecting him to take part in traditional rituals and customs.
And when it comes down to it they’ll also be expecting him to pull his weight.
The result is either going to be a sense of cultural awareness and a renewed sense of self-identity. Or it’s going to drive him mad.