Adil Ray: If I Ruled the World

Adil Ray is the creator and star of the BBC sitcom Citizen Khan. He was recently awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting for his body of work bringing more diversity to our screens.

Families would watch more comedy together

There’s something very special about sitting down and sharing a laugh. Everyone can forget their worries for a short while and bond over something silly. When I was a kid we’d be allowed to eat fish and chips on our laps on a Friday night and watch some comedy—I loved those times.


It would be compulsory for men to wash their hands in public loos

For us hand-washers, a trip to a public loo can be rather difficult. I don’t want to touch the door handle to get out after I’ve seen someone just do their business and leave.


We’d swap towns for a month each year

If you lived in rural Cornwall, you’d go somewhere like Oldham town centre. If you lived in Bradford, you might see what it’s like in the Welsh Valleys. It would open our minds to how other people live and give us a different perspective on culture and community. I live in Birmingham but have a hankering to live in the Cotswolds—this way I could see if it suited me before I decided to do anything too radical.


I’d insist everyone tries chicken curry cooked on the bone

That’s a proper authentic curry the way my mum makes it. I know the vegetarians have probably stopped reading by now, but cooking meat on the bone gives the curry a fantastic flavour and adds more nutrients. Plus you can eat it with your hands and get grubby. It’s the way forward.


Politicians would have to undergo lie-detector tests 

We’re going through this post-truth era of politics where it doesn’t matter what politicians believe. They’ve become generic personalities who feed us sound bites without telling us what they really stand for. Even if you disagreed with the likes of Thatcher, Hattersley or Hurd, at least you knew where they stood. 


I’d remind people that social media isn’t real life

When Citizen Khan was first shown we got abuse from people who said it was disrespectful. Post-Brexit, I get bothered by those who think it’s OK to rant about someone from an immigrant background. I remind myself that social media allows people to hide behind a mask and that there’s a whole other world out there that’s real and empathetic.


I’d do away with trendy beards

How can they be hip if so many men have them? I’d like to see all those guys with their new beards in Birmingham Central Mosque on a Friday afternoon for congregational prayers—why not go the whole way?


Tabloid journalists would show their articles to their children or grandparents before publishing them

If they’ve written a story about someone’s personal life, then let’s see if they feel comfortable about reading it out loud to people they care about. It would make journalists think about what they do more ethically before causing trouble in someone else’s life.


We’d laugh at ourselves and stop being offended by others

If you can laugh at your own foibles then no one can laugh at you because you’ve taken ownership of your own weaknesses. That’s a powerful tool to carry in life. We shouldn’t be offended by people who say ridiculous things because it’s a waste of our energy and really, who cares?


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