One of the country’s most-watched television sit-coms is coming to life on the stage in Greenwich.

Award-winning primetime BBC One show Citizen Khan is heading to Indigo at the O2 in May and its creator and star Adil Ray said audiences can expect something special.

He told us: “We ‘umm’ed and ‘ahh’ed about whether we should take the whole family out and do Citizen Khan and take a couple of scripts from the show and perform them on stage.

“But actually I wanted to do something different. I wanted people to come away and think they have seen something different.”

The show’s lynchpin, self-appointed community leader Mr Khan will bring his strong opinions to the crowd in an interactive show.

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Adil, who spends two hours in the make-up chair to become Mr Khan, said: “He is very much getting the audience involved as well and there is a kind of test that members of the audience take part in and also a gameshow element as well. Hopefully people will enjoy it.”

In a number of ways, Adil feels like the live show is an extension of the sitcom, which is filmed in front of a studio audience.

He said: “A lot of the time in between the scenes particularly I will play with the audience and speak to the audience and I’ll do a little bit of an intro at the start.

“There is something about Khan where breaking the fourth wall and speaking to the audience just feels right. It just feels good.”

The character started life on radio before coming to the small screen as part of Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse’s BBC Two sketch show Bellamy’s People.

Adil said: “I just found the idea of a community leader really funny.

“I thought ‘who are these community leaders? Where do they come from?’

“Suddenly you see these guys on the telly and they are labelled as community leaders. Who decides that they lead the community? It’s very odd.”

Mr Khan struck a chord and was quickly commissioned for his own sitcom, which saw the character change.

“Suddenly he becomes a father, a husband, now a grandfather,” Adil said. “He has relationships with people around him, he can laugh, he can cry, he can feel happy, he can feel sad.

“He has just become more of a real human. The fact that he is a community leader is a part of it but when you’re in a sitcom world, he could be your dad, he could be husband.

“Actually it doesn’t matter if you are Muslim or Pakistani, you can still relate to him and see something you can connect with. That is hopefully one of the reasons the show works.”

The broad appeal has seen Citizen Khan consistently win high viewing figures across its four series (a fifth has been commissioned for later in the year) yet it has not been short of controversy.

TV critics have panned it as unfunny while when it first aired it got a back-lash from British Asian Muslims.

Adil said: “In a way I look back now and think ‘fair enough’. We were the first ever Muslim comedy sitcom on television and I think it you aren’t perhaps familiar with the verve of comedy you might think it is out to attack you and out to mock you. It certainly isn’t that.

“I would say to British Muslims, when you watch The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or the Cosby Show or The Royle Family or Father Ted, were you watching it and laughing at those people and were you then going away from that show and thinking that all black people are like that or all Irish Catholics are like that?

“No you weren’t, or at least you shouldn’t have been. So don’t expect the same of the white British public. They are not going to think that.

“And even if they do, it’s not such a bad thing because the Khans are a good family. They are a nice, loving family.”

Citizen Khan: They All Know Me is at Indigo at The O2, Greenwich, on May 4. Go to

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