When Sanjeev Bhaskar was six years old he called himself Steve to fit in at his local swimming pool where he took lessons. However, he was caught out when the instructor called out the register and he responded to his real name. He was often called ‘Paki’ at school and was given clear instructions when playing at break time. He was allowed to play kiss chase with the girls but if he did catch up with a girl he was not allowed to kiss her.
Sanjeev is one of the stars of the comedy sitcom ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, which is returning to BBC 2 on Wednesday at 10.00 pm due to BBC India season. Sanjeev said: ‘When we first started doing Goodness Gracious Me, that first series particularly was incredibly cathartic.’
Sanjeev’s career has helped to emotionally drain the memories of his childhood when he received unwanted attention for his colour. Now Sanjeev is Chancellor for the University of Sussex and received an OBE in 2006.
Sanjeev spent his twenties working in marketing however, he left after he chose to sue an employer. They reached an out of court settlement but he was unable to find a job for 2 years. Due to this he moved back in with his parents at aged 30, in serious debt. It was a time when life was not going completely as planned that Sanjeev decided to get back in touch with his friend Nitin Sawhney. The two had met at Hatfield Polytechnique and started their comedy duo named the ‘Secret Asians’ at clubs.
One show was viewed by two producers who invited Sanjeev to join the development of Goodness Gracious Me on BBC Radio 4 and later on BBC 2.
Sanjeev’s future is to be filled with acting, script writing, presenting and the production company he co-runs. He may have had a rocky start but the British Asian boy from Ealing has lead a very successful career.