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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
BBC spends 1m on Asian soap
EastEnders' Nita
Asian characters are now more common in soaps
The BBC is spending 1m on a new radio soap based in the Midlands for its Asian Network.

The soap, which producers say will be "realistic" and "entertaining" is being created with the Asian Network's relaunch as a national digital station in mind.


This is fundamental to our aims in broadcasting to the diverse communities

Vijay Sharma
Asian Network
The Asian Network currently broadcasts on medium wave across various parts of England, and on the internet and digital satellite across the UK. It will join the likes of 6 Music and Five Live Sports Extra on digital radio across the UK in the autumn.

The soap - based around the lives of young Asians living in the Midlands - will make its debut in June 2003.

It follows slow but steady progress in getting better representation of ethnic minorities on mainstream television and radio, including BBC shows like Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No 42, and prominent roles in EastEnders.

The plots for the new soap will not all be based in the Midlands.

"It's also going to be about their families and friends who may live anywhere across the UK," said Gordon House, BBC head of radio drama.

"It's going to be realistic, entertaining, with reflections on the challenges that face the British Asian community in their daily lives.

"It will also be a lot of fun."

Five daily episodes are planned from Monday to Friday with a weekend omnibus.

'Powerful connection'

Vijay Sharma, head of The Asian Network, said: "This is great news for The Asian Network as we expect the soap to become a key part of how we explore the lives and concerns of Asians across the country.

"Good soaps have a powerful connection with their audiences and this is fundamental to our aims in broadcasting to the diverse communities that live in Britain.

"We want to interact fully with our listeners and we want to have our finger on the pulse of contemporary, urban life - this new soap can help us do exactly that."

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