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Pioneering British Nigerian comedy Meet the Adebanjos

PIONEERING: Meet The Adebanjos is hoping to create a new era in black British comedy

A PIONEERING sitcom about a Nigerian family living in south London is aiming to become the new black Eastenders.

Meet the Adebanjos has been tipped as the future of black television by viewers who saw the debut episode on June 26 and others who watched the trailer for the show.

The show is the first professionally produced and independently funded black British comedy show made for online audiences.

The eight-part series follows the life of a traditional first generation Nigerian couple, their British-born kids and their extended family.

According to the show’s producers, former City trader Andrew Osayemi and Deborah Odutuyo, the comedy aims to give a candid look at how a modern family juggles traditional African values and British culture.

They chose to produce it for the internet after being turned down by mainstream broadcasters who have often been criticised for their poor representation of minority ethnic communities.

“We’ve been working on the show for a year and a half now. We secured loans from private investors after finally convincing people for two months that this was something worthwhile backing. Finally we raised enough money to film eight episodes, and managed to build our own studio!” Osayemi told The Voice.

He said he hopes Meet the Adebanjos will be as groundbreaking as Channel 4’s landmark 80s black comedy Desmonds and the 2003 BBC 1 series The Crouches, which attracted an audience of three million viewers even though only two series were made.

“What we have is a show celebrating British Nigerian culture. My parents came to the UK in the '80s with a very similar background. We did a whole massive casting session for a week with 200 of the UK’s best actors, and made sure the actors we cast for the parents had authentic accents.”

The trailer for Meet the Adebanjos has already attracted 30,000 views on You Tube, a fact which Osayemi, 26, believes highlights the need for broadcasters to produce programmes that better reflect the experiences of the UK’s minority communities.

“The feedback we’ve had already has been remarkable,” he said. “It’s been 99 per cent positive. We’ve had TV stations in Africa and the Caribbean begging to pick it up. We also want to let the UK’s TV establishment know that the market for black British TV is strong, vibrant and hungry for content that speaks to the unique experience of migrants from the African Diaspora.”

He added: “There are a lot of black actors out of work, and we want to create a platform and opportunity for them to shine. What we want to create is a whole independent black British TV movement so that we don’t have to rely on mainstream broadcasters. We can do it ourselves.”

You can watch Meet the Adebanjos at www.meettheadebanjos.com

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