PBS viewers who love Unforgotten know about Sanjeev Bhaskar, who plays DS Sunny Khan, and whose lively social media account follows the adventures of his character's backpack. Those who follow him will also know of his wife, comedian Meera Syal, whose projects he promotes adorably. Unfortunately, Syal's shows haven't made it big here, despite the actress landing a two-episode arc on Doctor Who during the Eleventh Doctor's run. She also produced and stars in Goodness Gracious Me and played a significant role in The Kumars at No. 42. A CBE, she's one of the most recognized South Asian comedians in the U.K. But finally, one of her projects is heading our way in Acorn TV's new series, Mrs. Sidhu Investigates.
Based on the hit BBC 4 Radio show of the same name, Syal plays "Slough's answer to Miss Marple," a nosy aunt fascinated by murder. The radio program ran two four-part series, 2017's Murder with Malasa and 2019's Mrs. Sidhu's Deadly Highland Game. The radio show's adaptation for the small screen was first announced in July 2022, with Syal reprising her role. Suk Pannu, who created the radio series (and was behind both Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars), was said to be penning three feature-length scripts out of four for the show's first season.
Now Acorn TV has revealed the rest of the main cast joining Syal in the TV version of her program. Gurjeet Singh (Ackley Bridge) is coming aboard to play Mrs. Sidhu's wayward son, Tez, who she is forever trying to wrangle into being an upright citizen. Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty) and Naana Agyei-Ampadu (The Wheel of Time) play DCI Burton and DS Mint, the detective duo Mrs. Sidhu teams up with when crimes come her way. (Though perhaps it would be more proper to say she badgers Burton into listening to her ideas while Mint tries not to giggle.)
Here's the mystery series' logline:
The series will follow Mrs. Sidhu, a recently widowed high-end caterer who solves murders and other crimes among the affluent residents of the English county of Berkshire. She uses a lifetime as an ‘Indian Aunty’ to sharpen her skills as an investigator while juggling her new catering business with wrangling with her wayward son, Tez.
Pannu is credited as writer and creator, with Vivienne Harvey (Harlots) also credited with two episodes; Syal also "provided additional material," though whether that was script pages or improvising is unclear. Steve Barron (The Durrells) and Ben Kellett (Death in Paradise) direct the show's four episodes, with Barron taking the first two and Kellett taking the latter. Both Syal and Pannu are credited among the show's producers as well. Filming for Mrs. Sidhu Investigates is currently underway in the U.K. with producer Monumental Television (Ghosts) teaming with the radio show's producer, Absolutely Productions.
Pannu is also turning the radio show/TV series into Mrs. Sidhu novels; the first, Dead and Scone, is set to be published in late 2023. Acorn TV has not yet announced a release date for Mrs. Sidhu Investigates but has said it is anticipating a 2023 launch date for the show.