We Are Lady Parts is one to watch (Picture: Channel 4/Laura Radford)
Channel 4’s newest comedy We Are Lady Parts is the boldest – and most punk – series to air on the channel in yonks.
So what make this show so different?
From challenging stereotypes to punk anthems, here are six reasons you should be watching…
It’s The Young Ones Meets Spinal Tap
A musical comedy about an all-female all-Muslim punk band performing ‘hash anthems’ and sour ‘Girl Power’? You won’t have seen a show like We Are Lady Parts before.
At least according to its creator/director Nida Manzoor, who was inspired by a couple of modern classics.
‘It’s about a three-piece band, Lady Parts, led by Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey). They’re looking for a lead guitarist, and find Amina (Anjana Vasan), who is a folk guitarist and PhD student. I kept watching This is Spinal Tap while I was writing it and I hope we share a bit of the punk aesthetic of The Young Ones, which is still so cool and funny.’
Lead singer Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey) is on the lookout for a new guitarist (Picture: Channel 4/Saima Khalid)
It overturns stereotypes…
Manzoor was determined to challenge preconceptions through her characters. ‘I was feeling frustrated with representations of Muslim women I’d seen on TV and film as oppressed or victimised,’ she says.
‘I wanted to represent the women I know – complex, funny, full of joy, darkness and light. As a diaspora kid, I’ve lived between multiple identities and always felt people want to put you in a box. I wanted to show all the different ways of being.’
…But will resonate with everyone
Whether it’s finding your voice, the push-pull between wanting to stand out and trying to fit in, or the irresistible urge to sing along to the Proclaimers, everyone can relate to these girls.
‘I absolutely understood Amina’s shyness, awkwardness and fear,’ says Vasan. ‘I never thought I’d get a part like this on TV. She goes on a big journey and she’s very hard on herself, like a lot of us who worry too much about what people think. But all she’s looking for is acceptance and validation.’
Juliette Motamed stars as the band’s drummer, Ayesha (Picture: Channel 4/Laura Radford)
The songs are real…
Lady Parts are a well-drilled unit, which meant that the cast had to be too – especially given they were performing Manzoor’s own songs.
‘I grew up in a very musical family and always wanted to be a brown girl Bob Dylan,’ laughs Manzoor.
‘I remember the first day on set when the band were playing my songs, and I started crying. The feeling of having an idea then seeing it be better than my wildest dreams was overwhelming. There was a musical element to the auditions, because we needed the audience to believe they were playing and singing. Did I feel like Simon Cowell? Absolutely not!’
…Just like the band…
The cast have real credentials, with Vasan releasing a self-penned blues EP in 2017.
Faith Omole (Bisma) learned to play bass especially for the role (Picture: Laura Radford)
‘I played acoustic guitar in blues and rock bands in Singapore, where I grew up, but I’d never played electric before. Juliette [Motamed, plays drummer Ayesha] can play guitar but she’d never played drums.
‘Faith [Omole, plays bassist Bisma] is an incredible singer who had never picked up an instrument before. Sarah has sung but not played guitar. So we’re all musical, but there was a newness for everyone that made it exciting and challenging.’
… So watch out Michael Eavis!
If the band are so tight, could they go on tour?
‘I don’t know,’ grins Vasan, ‘but I think the songs are hits! We rehearsed separately at first, then came together and went through the songs again and again and again.
‘It felt important to know we could play any song in any order at any time, like it a setlist. Sarah is so desperate, she keeps asking, “when could we play Glastonbury?”’
Well, if it was good enough for Spinal Tap…
We Are Lady Parts airs Thursdays, 10pm on Channel 4.