The Omid Djalili Show. Omid Djalili. Copyright: BBC.

The Omid Djalili Show

BBC One sketch show / stand-up starring Omid Djalili. 12 episodes (2 series), 2007 - 2009. Stars Omid Djalili, Tom Goodman-Hill, Richard Katz, Stewart Scudamore and others.

Press Clippings

Another mystery: how has the BBC managed to turn one of the nation's most original comedians into the front man for a deadly conventional stand-up'n'sketch show? Even the title of The Omid Djalili Show suggests creative weariness and his patter certainly does. There should be real edge to an Iranian making jokes about Muslims, but there isn't when the jokes about what, with careful vagueness, he calls "the Middle East" feature a comedian called Jimmy Carr Bomb ("He took the roof off") and a local branch of the Samaritans that "we call a recruiting centre" (for suicide bombers). Congratulating himself on this last gag, he told us: "That's so wrong but so funny." It was neither, and, anyhow, I was taught it was impolite to remark on your own jokes.

To be polite myself, a couple of sketches showed flickers of life. Sheikhs and the City was a rather neat parody ("Was sex about oil wells or being well-oiled?") and one about a recycling dump with a special slot for Richard Littlejohn articles, adverts for sheds and free DVDs attached to newspapers raised a smile. His Tudors parody which owed more to Armstrong and Miller's jive-talking RAF pilots than the series didn't. "I'm tired of this s***," quoth a Bronx-speaking King Henry. So was I, sire.

Andrew Billen, The Times, 21st April 2009

TV Review: The Omid Djalili Show

While I don't buy a fair chunk of what Djalili skits, it was great to see the way he took quite complex political situations and spun them into accessible chunks for the audience. Credit Crunch - The Musical ('Debt Got Heavy') switched me off in a comedic way, but was admirable all the same.

mofgimmers, TV Scoop, 21st April 2009

The North-South divide opened up again in The Omid Djalili Show, in which Djalili, a large comedian of Iranian extraction, a background he mines about as relentlessly as British Coal once explored the seams of South Yorkshire, enjoyed himself with the notion that Geordie girls out on the razz don't wear much in the way of clothing. In the current edition of Radio Times, Djalili explains his comedy thus: "I play on stereotypes. I do lots of silly ethnic voices. People with Middle England sensibilities might think, 'Are you crazy? How can you find this funny?'" Well, I don't think it was my Middle England sensibilities that got in the way of my enjoyment of The Omid Djalili Show, I think it was the crassness and tired unoriginality of most of the material. I laughed at the opening sketch, in which a recycling centre had bins earmarked not just for bottles but also fluff, fairy lights, fridge magnets, Jordan biographies, odd ski boots and articles by Richard Littlejohn, but things went vertiginously downhill from there.

Brian Viner, The Independent, 21st April 2009

Omid Djalili, heavily upholstered as Henry, was in close conference with Cardinal Wolsey. "Ah hate that woman. She gotta go. I'm the King of England. Help a brother out!" At this point Catherine of Aragon irrupted. "My mother warned me. All Englishmen are homosexuals and horse-lovers." Henry: "At least mah horse don't bite mah balls." Catherine: "You love your horse more than me. Henry VIII! Henry the Fat! Henry the no-dick-bastard more like."

Exit the queen in a royal huff. Peace came like a poultice to heal the blows of sound. Silence fell as softly as goose-feathers. Henry said nothing rather noisily. "All right," said Wolsey after an awkward pause, "I'll talk to the Pope."

Nancy Banks-Smith, The Guardian, 21st April 2009

With jokes about hands chopped off for thievery and Jihad's Army, Omid Djalili makes the most of his Iranian on the loose in England status. But thankfully The Moid Djalili Show is not just an exercise in potshotting easy targets, it's actually sharply observed comedy show through with laughs.

Though Djalili delights in satirising his own heritage, including a near-the-knuckle gag about how in the Middle East the Samaritans isn't a helpline 'it's a recruitment centre', he's actually at his best when he strays away from his roots. A jive-talking Henry VIII was an oddball highlight, as was an impression of a Somalian pirate captain with a random Nigerian accent. But best of all was Credit Crunch: The Opera which nailed the financial crisis in three tune-busting bailiff-crazed minutes. Move over Robert Peston, give Djalili the gig.

Keith Watson, Metro, 21st April 2009

If Bill Oddie hosted a show called Telly Watch, he'd be cock-a-hoop at the rare sighting of the bellydancing British-Iranian comedian returning with a second series. A very excitable Bill would then note how Omid's padding out his nest with a skit on the London Olympics and a spoof musical called Credit Crunch: The Opera.

What's On TV, 20th April 2009

Omid Djalili always makes me laugh out loud - apart from when he is being unnecessarily rude, of course. Sketches include his take on a new Middle Eastern TV channel and Credit Crunch: The Opera.

Anila Baig, The Sun, 20th April 2009

With the face of a mischievous pasha, the grace of a belly dancer, the perspective of an outsider, and an astonishing speed and mastery of detail, the Iranian comedian Omid Djalili comes heavily tooled up with comic weaponry. His new show is a mixture of stand-up and sketches. He is man of many faces and accents. One moment, he plays a Community Support sheriff in a spaghetti western; the next, he is an East End bouncer training for the 2012 Olympics. Best of all is the pilot for a new West End show called Credit Crunch: The Musical.

David Chater, The Times, 20th April 2009

"And that is why the West must be destroyed!" The British-Iranian comedian returns with another series mixing knockabout sketches with brilliantly barbed observations on the eternal rift in understanding between Western and Islamic cultures.

Gerard O'Donovan, The Telegraph, 20th April 2009

The second series of stand-up and sketches from the cheeky Anglo-Iranian gets off to a good start, with Djalili again demonstrating his signature playfulness with Middle Eastern and British stereotypes.

Highlights include oil-obsessed Sheiks In The City and the British policeman so caught up in bureaucracy he tries to arrest himself. Proof, if further proof were needed, of Djalili's undeniably formidable skills as an actor and stand-up.

Keith Watson, Metro, 20th April 2009