Whilst the title makes this sound like another one of Channel 4’s factual slots is being filled with people flashing – we’re looking at you, Naked Attraction – it’s actually something much more fun and radical. It’s a sitcom about an all-female, Muslim punk band.
Written, directed and produced by Nida Manzoor, this brilliantly silly, fun, raucous sitcom with a soft heart is unlike anything we’ve seen so far on British TV. It’s rare we see Muslim women on the telly, let alone one that so boldly defies stereotypes. Our main character is Amina, a nerdy PhD student who is so nervous of performing she throws up into a bucket before going on stage. Not put off by this unfortunate neurosis, she’s recruited by Saira, Bisma, Ayesha and Momtaz of Lady Parts, who need a new guitarist. Off they go, making music and forming a sisterhood, bonding over their mutual experiences as Muslim women.
Each one of these brilliantly crafted characters kicks stereotypes in the gutter, talking about sex, periods, identity crises and girl power. But somehow, it never crosses the line into politics – whilst blatantly refusing to conform, the show also refuses to make any big, grandiose statement about the situation of Muslim women in the UK, instead focusing on portraying real and heartfelt female friendships. And in a way, that says a lot itself.
We Are Lady Parts probably isn’t as good as some of the sitcoms we’ve seen go viral recently, and occasionally the jokes just don’t quite land. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot on offer here – this is a properly joyful, playful and light comedy, jumping on the popular millennial, feminist gags that are everywhere these days. And with the culture clashes and coming-of-age angst, there’s plenty of material to work through. A definite must see for those of us in need of a gentle giggle.
Lady Parts has gone down well with the critics, with Chitra Ramaswamy in The Guardian saying “this is the British-Asian comedy series you’ve been waiting for your whole representation-starved life… a comedy in which Muslim women are permitted to be funny, sexual, ridiculous, religious, angry, conflicted. Themselves, basically.” The Telegraph’s Anita Singh also praises this series, saying “If the show sometimes feels as if it’s trying a bit too hard to be cool, it can be forgiven – when representations of Muslim women on screen are mostly confined to the news bulletins, at least We Are Lady Parts offers something joyful.” And in The Times, Carol Midgley agrees, adding, “we need new comedy and this is most welcome.”
First shown May 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.