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BEHIND THE SCENES

News about the show, the guests and viewers feedback

When Del met Tan Dhesi MP:

After the show I was touched, humbled and to be honest a bit gobsmacked at the number of people who phoned, texted and emailed me to congratulate me.  In fact the feedback across all networks to the first show has been brilliant, glad so many watched and likedwhat they saw - makes it all worthwhile.  Did get a couple of haters but then can't please everyone.​​​​​​   People loved the  the show from the opening Dragons Den intro explaining the show to the title sequence.....especially the "make up"...... yes I do use all that stuff - lol.   Here's a just some of the comments people have made;
















Have actually had feedback from UK but also as far a field as Ukraine and US from viewers many who are non-Sikhs who watched the channel for the first time and found it interesting.   Hopefully in the coming weeks as the word spreads and the show is put online more people both Sikhs and non-Sikhs will will watch all around the world.   Whilst we never set out on some global grand mission we did hope that the show would be watched by a broader English speaking audience in as many regions as possible so it is gratifying to know the broad reach will help break down barriers and dispel myths about Sikhs.    

​Thank you everyone who tuned in and please do tell others and let them know shows are available online at this site, on YouTube and Sikh Channel FaceBook page.

Thanks for the Bantz - tune in for me every Friday at 9.30pm GMT on The Sikh Channel.

"Original brilliant.....very professional presenter with
a nice style"​​

"Finally Sikhs having a laugh, and not all serious"

"Almost forgot I was watching the Sikh Channel"

"Good banter I loved it, will   watch more"

"My grandmother didn't   get it, I did....I'm in dragons"

"Why's this on Sikh Channel...speak in Punjabi we're not English people"

"Learnt about what Sikhs
  are doing and its very   interesting "

"Telling all my friends as its in English and dead funny"

When Del met Jeremy Corbyn MP:

I've had more than a few people ask me about my banter with Jeremy Corbyn MP leader of the Labour Party and how it came about?   Well I have to thank my good friend Tan Dhesi MP for Slough who invited me to a special event laid on at Labour Party HQ in London to celebrate the birth of the founder of the Sikh faith Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November.   Firstly a great shout that any political party values and recognises the Sikh religion and puts on an event .....other parties could learn from this.

I happened to be in London on the day at the office so after work I hightailed it over to Millbank and in view of the suicide of a Labour Minister in Wales that morning the event whilst being a celebration had a slightly sombre tone.   At one point it looked like I wouldn't get a chance to speak with Jeremy but thank you to Angie and the rest of his team they granted me access to him for a few minutes.    As you will see from the video under the TV Shows page we definitely had some banter and what is more we had a bit of a laugh on what was a difficult day for him.  His media people liked me as I got him smiling and said, "We like you, you can come back again".  I reckon I will take them up on this in the near future. 

In the few minutes I had with Jeremy Corbyn I was able to chat, politics, votes for the young, Glastonbury and Arsenal FC as we are both Gooners...oh, and depression as we are both Gooners - lol.

For those asking why I have only met with Labour politicians is this because I am anti other parties, the answer is definitely not.  It just so happens the Labour Party has Sikh MP's and that's where we started but as we move forward I do hope I can meet with politicians from other parties they needn't be Sikh.   The show isn't a political platform but on occasion my personal dislike of some people, issues and things will surface but then humour and satire allows one to mock the issues of the day.  Any other politicians from any party interested in some banter, drop me an email please.














Chat show 101:

All feedback good or bad, and questions in general are most welcome, and I have had a few in recent weeks while making Late Night Banter and after the show aired.   Here are some of these questions and my replies;

1. Why isn't the show live like chat shows on BBC or ITV?

Sorry to burst your bubble but most chat  shows on these and other channels are pre-recorded and only the big "telethon" shows like Children In Need are recorded live.  Also getting guests to commit to a live slot at 9.30pm on a Friday night would be hard work, even the legend that is Graham Norton  has to pre-record ahead of Friday night airing.   With that said the Sikh Channel does have a number of live shows with guests and the presenters do a great job but based on the late night slot we have it isn't practical to do the show live.


2. What about having a studio audience?

This is more about practicality and studio space as clearly the Sikh Channel doesn't have the studio facilities of say the BBC or ITV to record big set pieces.  Also as our guests are not Hollywood A-List or famous celebrities we are unlikely to have people queuing around the block to be part of a studio audience. 


3.  Do you go through all the questions with the guests before recording the show?

In a nutshell no.   Outside of emailing guests to set up our interview I generally meet them for the first time when they arrive at the studio or I meet them at their offices on the day of the recording.  If I am lucky we get 5 or 10 minutes to chat before we sit down and the cameras start rolling.  Whilst I might in advance ask them to think of their 3 guests for Dinner Party, they know nothing else of what I will be asking them nor I as to how they might respond.  So basically the cameras roll and we chat and there are no re-takes, whatever they say and I say is recored and that's the show.   As "fishbowl" is totally random questions even the smartest people get stumped and while it is a little unfair as it puts them on the spot, it is just a bit of fun to round the show off.  The aim isn't to embarass anyone simply to finish off with a laugh, and so far everyone has loved fishbowl, even if they haven't liked their on the spot answers. 


4. How about letting viewers phone in to ask questions or participate?

Good question as we originally considered having a viewers slot with them sending in videos, we have found that we simply didn't have the time as guests wanted to chat and the original 30 minute show running time was extended to 50 minutes.   We agreed on a straight chat show format for Late Night Banter and as we were pre-recording it makes it hard to do guest phone in's to be aired at a later date.   Yes we could get viewers to email in questions but again this depends on us knowing well in advance which guests we have lined up, and this hasn't always been easy.   I would still very much like to explore the concept of viewers sending in their videos nd ideas - one for the future possibly.

5. Why didn't you record a Punjabi version at the same time as we speak Punjabi not English, you are betraying your roots?

Without getting emotional I don't consider myself a traitor to my roots as I am a British born Sikh, so whilst I do speak Punjabi, English is and has been my first language since birth - shock horror.   In all honesty I would find it hard to articulate and express myself and my sense of humour in anything other than English.   Also some of our guests have already been interviewed in Punjabi on both the Sikh Channel and other Indian channels and therefore we didn't simply want to re-tread old ground.  Late Night Banter was designed to be different and also reach a broader audience that includes younger Sikhs who maybe are less fluent in Punjabi or a non-Sikh audience.   Judging from reactions to the first show it is clear we may have upset some traditional Sikh Channel viewers whose preference is Punjabi as a language but we have reached some younger viewers and definitely non-Sikh viewers who have never watched the Sikh Channel. 

I stand by the fact that around 80% of content on the Sikh Channel is in Punjabi language so a small percentage of programming in English is not an unreasonable ask, especially since the channel started in the UK and all shows are being recorded in the UK.   I would dearly loved to have pleased everyone but as one cannot please all of the people all of the time, I apologise to those who don't like the show, we will miss you as viewers.


6. What are the words you say at the start of the show in Punjabi?

In starting the show there are a couple of Sikh greetings for viewers before the Hi and Hello, and I have been asked about the meaning of these.

The significance of “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” according to Gurbani (Sikh holy teachings).   The simplest interpretation of this greeting or slogan is that Khalsa (True Sikhs) belong to Waheguru (God) and also the victory (Fateh) also belongs to Waheguru.   The words Sat Sri Akal are a more formal greeting but still have religious significance in that rough translation is;  "True is the name of God". ... so the victory belongs to God!".



When Del met Sir Harpal Singh Kumar - CEO Cancer Research UK:

Got some great reaction to the show with Sir Harpal Singh Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research UK particularly from those who have fund raised for Cancer Research UK and those who have battled cancer or know someone fighting it.

Had even more emails, calls and texts than last week so it looks like people are enjoying the banter, Alex from Ukraine glad you found the show good and your fundraising for Cancer Research UK while in UK was money well spent well in finding cures! 

People were impressed with the flow of the chat and were surprised we'd never met prior to the show yet we had great chemistry.   The fishbowl "sandwich filling" question had people creasing with laughter....the fact such a smart guy struggled with the question.   

I was pleased to get the chance to hand over my cheque for monies I raised in running my first half marathon for Cancer Research UK to the boss of Cancer Research UK. 

Definitely will be looking out for Harpal (my new mate) at the Roger Waters gig in Hyde Park next year.

Best reaction happened on 13th December as follows; 

Walking out of Kings Cross train station heading towards the underground I was stopped by two Indian ladies. I thought they were going to ask me for directions but instead said, "Del Singh paaji we saw your show on Sikh Channel and really liked it". Fair to say I was both taken aback and pleased at the same time.

I joked that I was delighted that at least two people other than my wife and mum had watched it. They were mother Jasbir Kaur and her daughter Gurpreet traveling back to Leeds from London. Jasbir told me she was amazed her kids who are in their late teens were actually watching the Sikh Channel as they never do and they in fact told their parents about Late Night Banter. Gurpreet said she liked the fact it was in English and not all serious, a bit jokey and interesting guests and chat.

They asked who else was coming on the show and if I'd have non-Sikh guests too? I said if the show proved popular and viewers wanted a broader guest list then fingers crossed. They said they’re getting all their friends and relatives to watch. That in itself was so good to hear!
Slightly embarrassed as they took a selfie with me and I thought it too creepy to ask for one with them - wish I had after they walked off to catch their train. I'm not used to people wanting a photo of me, unless I've just crashed into their car 😂

Sitting writing this I'm still glowing with delight that I have a small but growing fan base in Leeds and hopefully elsewhere too. #latenightbanter

 
When Del met Perminder Mann - CEO Bonnier Publishing UK:

Perminder Mann, CEO of Bonnier Publishing UK is a very driven lady and for anyone who is looking for a female business role model or a powerful Sikh female look no further.    Perminder is definitely inspirational and has worked hard for success in the tough world of publishing.   I will be keeping tabs on her and her company .....and maybe a follow up interview as I am sure there is more to explore.

I know Perminder is keen to see more Sikhs, in fact more people from ethnic backgrounds and also more females in the world of publishing so if anyone who has watched the show wants to contact her, then email me and I promise to pass on your emails to her. 

On a personal note, Perminder is well connected in her publishing role so I hope she might introduce me to some more inspirational folks and the odd superstar!

Talking of great female role models following last night's show I was asked to go onto Tina Balnain's Soch Vichar show on The Sikh Channel the following day.  Tina does a great job and has a very loyal viewership so I was delighted and slightly surprised to be asked to be a guest.  What is more Tina's show is in Punjabi and allowed me to explain to the more traditional Sikh Channel viewers what Late Night Banter is all about.   I did explan that whilst the show is attracting new viewers to the channel some folks have been more critical primarily because its an English language show.....its the smallest of thing with some folks - lol.

Thanks for the chat Tina and if you missed the show click below to watch....unlike Late Night Banter, Tina's show Soch Vichaar is in Punjabi in the main. 


When Del met Bhai Fauja Singh Ji - World's Oldest Marathon Runner (Aged 100):

Bhai Fauja Singh Ji was actually one of the first guests I reached out to via his trainer Harmander Singh who literally runs Sikhs In The City a running club in East London.  As the oldest marathon runner in the world having completed the Toronto Marathon aged 100 in 2011 many people both Sikhs and non-Sikhs with an interest in running wanted to know more about him.  What is more as I was in training for my first half marathon on a personal level I wanted to meet such an inspirational man.   Rather unsportingly the Guinness Book of Records didn't recognise his oldest marathon runner record as he couldn't provide a birth certificate!  The fact they didn't have birth certificates in the UK in 1911 what makes them think they would have them in India.  Her Majesty and Buckingham Palace sent Fauja Singh a telegram recognising his 100th birthday in 2011, clearly the Book of Records question her's and the Palace's wisdom on this one!

I really did enjoy my meeting and interview with him and while it was less banterish as he only speaks Punjabi it was never the less an interesting and fun meeting.  Sadly the interview had to be split into two parts to accomodate the Sikh Channel's Saka Sirhand Charity event but it was such a great cause how could I refuse.  Also somewhere along the line a phone interview with Fajua Singh's trainer Harmander Singh got mislaid so some of the questions I couldn't ask him directly which Harmander answered were not aired.  Had viewers heard the chat with trainer Harmander Singh they would have learned of the tragedies in Fauja's personal life including the death of his wife and witnessing the decapitation of his son in a freak accident that sent him into deep depression.  To overcome the depression he was sent to family in the UK and embarked on marathon running to fight his depression and find purpose in his life.  For those with questions on Fauja Singh and want to learn more about his story there is a wealth of material on the internet about the Turbaned Tornado and a good place to start would be his Wikipedia page.

I was amazed at how humble and charming Fauja Singh was when we met and how lucid he was at age now of 106.  I was deeply touched when he said that on the day of our interview he had awoken with a heavy heart and was feeling down, but my chat and nature of my questions had raised his spirits, and he thanked me for this.   His words of wisdom to me about my own half marathon adventure were pricless and I have had a few people contact me to say that when he said I was "built like a horse" he really meant I looked like one and I shouldn't take it as a compliment - lol.

Although retired from marathon running Fauja Singh still runs the odd 10k with and for the kids to whom he is an amazing role model.  Running 10k at 55 years of age isn't easy so at almost double that age is an amazing achievement.  I for one will cherish forever my meeting with this amazing man and I know when I was digging in around 10 miles into my 13 mile half marathon the words of Fauja Singh in my ears carried me over the finish line.











​When Del met Preet Kaur Gill - MP for Edgbaston (1st Female Sikh MP in the UK):

Preet Kaur Gill was actually the first guest I interviewed back in September and as the cameras rolled the nerves kicked in a bit, hence the slighty pause and hesitation when I introduced her.   Some of this was down to the fact I was using an autocue for the first time and felt myself looking at it too often instead of at my guest.  To be fair Preet was a bit nervous not knowing what this idiot was going to ask next and also and my bumbling about probably didn't help to put her at ease, but as we both got into the interview we relaxed and the nerves went and we got a nice flow in banter going.   

As it was the first show and I was road-testing the questioning format and also doing my best to not say anything rude or inappropriate.  Furthermore I wasn't sure how spots like Dinner Party and Fishbowl would work.  I'm glad to say in the end it all came together and the biggest compliment was when at the end of the recording my gues Preet said, "That was different to the usual interviews I've done for Sikh Channel and others, I liked it".   Phew there was an audible sigh of relief from me and then when the studio team came in and said they thought it was great and would probably air the whole interview of 55 minutes instead of editing it to 30 minutes, I was thrilled to bits.

Over the weeks and months after this first interview I started to relax into the format and I also ditched the autocue which is why the later shows have a more natural and less scripted feel to them.  The one thing I didn't lose though was the ad-libs and jokey comments which all my guests to date really liked.  I was also able to fine tune the Dinner Party and Fishbowl spots a little more and customise these based on the guests reactions.

This whole experience has been amazing and the best compliment I received was from one of the channel's location camera guys who said to me after an interview, "Did you used to be on the BBC?".   Now he either thought I was very professional or he'd seen me on an episode of Crimewatch! 

Great feedback after the show with Preet Kaur Gill, including this lovely email from Jennifer Lane a non-Sikh lady from Canada who watched the show with her daughter and.  I replied to thank her and tell her that there were no plans for me to banter in Canada, but never say never.   She said I could put her nice email on the website so long as I didn't give out her email address.   This is what she said;    

























​Extremely humbed by such lovely words and from someone who is not from the Sikh community but who found the shows interesting and fun - thank you Jennifer.
  

When Del met Professor Harminder Singh Dua - (Head of Opthamology and Visual Sciences at Nottingham University):


Thoroughly enjoyed the banter with Professor Dua and I was slightly nersous that as an academic in what is a specialist field he might be all serious and hard work, but Harminder was very open and had a great sense of humour and fun.     We had a god laugh while discussing his chosen profession which may have gone in a totally different direction had he not ignored his timetable and sat in on a sciences class - I'm sure engineering's loss is medicine's gain.

Many people are watching the show on Facebook Live and I was poorly and in bed I too watched the show on Facebook Live and looked at some of the comments being posted.  It was interesting to see a couple of ladies in the U.S. watching and chatting online as Professor discussed optical issues with me.  However after a while as the issue of turbans and searches at airports was discussed their tone took a bit of "Trumpist" flavour as they suggested it was everyone's safetey that was important, and I agree but then why when I was doing most of my international flying post 9/11, Caucasian or white folks searched?   There's more chance of a radicalised white guy or girl boarding a plane with a bomb than a Sikh as we are veheremently anti radical Islam, for us there's greater chance of our changing gender than converting to Islam or indeed any other religion :-).  

These two white ladies continued to chat and then one of them posted a comment as you can see below.  "They speak very good english!! :) good".   How patronising, what so only white folks can "speak very good English", and guys in turbans cannot!   Well lady I was born in England, yes the country that gave the world English, and you folks in the U.S. messed with it particularly our spelling and pronounciation.   It's a shame out of the millions in your wonderful country you elected a President whose English is second rate as compared to that of a child and his spelling even worse  - only one p in tap not tapp (sic) Mr Trump.    I am proud of the fact my country gave the world the English language and I definitely don't need Janet Jones to patronise me or indeed a world reknowned professor about "our good english"


When Del met Sanjeev Singh Sahota - (Undefeated Professional Boxer):

Growing up in the 1970's I like millions followed the phenomenon in the boxing ring that was Muhammed Ali, and after this we cheered for a plethora of fighters from Mike Tyson to Lennox Lewis to Sugar Ray Leonard and loads more.  So when I recently heard of a young Sikh boxer Sanjeev Singh Sahota with a record of 9 and 0 I thought it would be good to meet him and find out his influences and lifestyle.

Unfortuantely my timing in meeting Sanjeev wasn't the best as it was the day before what was to be his ninth professional fight and we arrived at his gym literally 30 minutes after his weigh in.  So as with any weigh in Sanjeev had not eaten and kept the fluids to a minimum to make sure he made the weight.  Therefore when we arrived the guy was ravenous and eager to eat and drink which is key for a fighter especially 24 hours before a fight.   Sanjeev is a driven and inspired young man who is commited to his chosen profession so like a trooper he continued with the interview even as his blood sugar dropped.  Towards the end I rushed to finish the interview for fear he would either collapse from starvation or batter me for keeping me from his lunch.   

Since I recorded the interview with Sanjeev he has won his ninth and tenth fight so he is still undefeated and long may that continue.




 



When Del met Hardyal Dhindsa - (Police & Crime Commissioner Derbyshire):


In fairness I didn't know a great deal about the of a PCC, that's Police & Crime Commissioner so it was great to get some first hand insight from Hardyal Dhindsa who fulfils that role for the county of Derbyshire.  

It was interesting finding out more about the challenges of 21st century policing in the UK at a time when public services are facing severe cut backs and crime has diversified from the traditional incidents to cybercrime and terrorism.    As Hardyal pointed out today's police doesn't just needs feet on the streets but also needs computer savvy officers and those trained in counter-terrorism.

Great to see he reacted well to my Commissioner Gordon, he of Batman and Gotham City fame joke, which was supplied to me by my son Gurmeet when I told him I was interviewing a real life Police Commissioner. 

On a more serious note he was a great example of Sikh who has achieved a great deal in the Police and with that in mind I was delighted to learn recently that my nephew Detective Seargent Amerjit Singh became the first Sikh Police Officer to be awarded the Queens Police Medal.  he was presented the award by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace....and a couple of weeks later was promoted to Detective Inspector, very proud of him not just as his uncle but also as a Sikh.



  





 



When Del met Karamjit Singh CBE - (Head of NHS Trusts Leicester Hospitals):

Its not only the police that are facing a tough time the NHS is currently going through its hardest time during its 70 year history and there are some who are not sure it will survive.   Then there is President Trump who uses our NHS to justify a pay for healthcare or go without rhetoric.  I was pleased to get some expert insight on the NHS, no not from The Donald but from the man responsible for Leicester's Hospitals, Karamjit Singh CBE.

Karamjit was a fascinating man who has fulfilled a number of roles both in the UK and also in Northern Ireland where at the time there was probably a greater chance of seeing a Martian than a Sikh ;-)   But seriously the Irish and Northern Irish are lovely welcoming folk and I shared some great stories with Karamjit.

I was especially interested in a book he has written and which is published later this year.  Pioneer charts the story of his father who came from India to the UK back in the 1940's and was definitely one of the first ever Sikhs to settle and prosper.  I am looking forward to getting my hands on a signed copy from the author (no pressure for a freebie Karamjit), as I am fascinated by the whole idea of stranger in a strange land.  I listen with fascination as my mother tells me what life was like for her and my late father back in the 1950's in the UK, I am sure it was even harder and stranger for Karamjit's family a decade earlier.







When Del met Mani Kaur Bajwa - (Women's Rights & Gender Equality Campaigner):​​

In doing my show it wasn't all about meeting the high and mighty it was also about meeting people who do their best to make a difference and in particular to the lives of others.  So when I heard about Mani Kaur Bajwa I was determined to meet her and find out more about her campaigning and also her works for charity.

It just so happened that the evening before I was due to interview Mani she was spending the night sleeping out on a pavement in Chelsea for the homeless as part of an event organised by the charity Glass Door.   So I gave up my Friday night and popped over to Chelsea to meet Mani and also interview many of the people who slept out for this great cause.   The full Glass Door event show will be shown later on but it was great to see Mani the next morning bright and breezy and eager to chat.

We spoke about her work for the Billion Women charity and Sikh Women's Awareness Day on 7th March.  In addition to this we spoke about Gender Inequality which sadly is seldom out of the news these days simply because for too long men have taken advantange and are now facing the consequences for their actions. 

Mani is a true inspiation doing great work not just in the UK but also in Canada, India and in fact all around the world.