Hardeep Singh Kohli

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hardeep Singh Kohli
Hardeep Singh Kohli performing at Isle of Arts Festival 2012 5.JPG
Kohli in 2015
Born (1969-01-21) 21 January 1969 (age 49)
London, England
Residence Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Occupation Broadcaster
Relatives Sanjeev Kohli (brother)

Hardeep Singh Kohli (born 21 January 1969)[1] is a British broadcaster and writer of Sikh heritage who has appeared on radio and television.


Kohli was born in London and moved to Glasgow in Scotland when he was four.[2] His parents came to Britain from India in the 1960s. The family's roots lie in the Punjab. His mother was a social worker, and his father a teacher, then a property landlord.[2] His first school was Hillhead Primary School in the West End of Glasgow, after which he attended Meadowburn Primary in Bishopbriggs.[citation needed]

At age eight, he moved to John Ogilvie Hall, the primary school of St. Aloysius' College, a private Roman Catholic school in central Glasgow. Kohli studied Law at the University of Glasgow.While studying, Kohli worked in a vegetarian restaurant and worked as an usher at the Citizens Theatre.[3]




After leaving university Kohli joined the BBC Scotland graduate production trainee scheme.[4] He moved to BBC Television Centre, London, to direct children's TV, before moving to Youth and Entertainment Features in Manchester to become series director on Janet Street-Porter's series Reportage. He was one of the directors of It'll Never Work, which was the first children's TV show to win an award from the Royal Television Society and BAFTA in its first season.

Kohli left the corporation in 1996 to work independently.[5] He directed commercials and worked in TV development and broadcast occasionally on BBC Radio 5Live.

He wrote, directed and starred in Channel 4's Meet the Magoons in 2004,.[6] Nancy Banks Smith described it as "modern to the point of surreal"[7] with A. A. Gill suggesting it "might well evolve into something classic"[8] The show was entered for a Golden Rose at the Montreux Comedy Festival but unplaced

In September 2006, Kohli took part in the first series of BBC One's Celebrity MasterChef programme, reaching the final along with Roger Black, finishing a close second to the ultimate winner, Matt Dawson. In January 2007, he had a three-part series on Channel 4, £50 Says You'll Watch This. The series was the first documentary exploring all forms of gambling. The show involved Kohli taking part in a celebrity card game, visiting casinos in Las Vegas. In October 2006, February 2007 and January 2009 he appeared on the BBC political panel programme Question Time, and was an occasional presenter on Newsnight Review, Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4 and Loose Ends.

In 2008 Kohli presented "New British Kitchen" a cookery series for UKTV with John Torode. That was followed by Kohli's solo show "Chefs and the City" for the same channel. He also participated in a celebrity edition of The Apprentice to raise money for charity.[9] Sport Relief Does The Apprentice was part of the BBC's annual charity initiative Sport Relief and aired on 12 and 14 March 2008. He was the first Celebrity Apprentice to be "fired". He also appeared on Gordon Ramsay: Cook Along Live.

He appeared in the Scottish segment of the BBC's 2008 Children in Need appeal, anchored by Jackie Bird and Des Clarke.

Also in 2008, Kohli filmed a documentary about Scientology, mainly the so-called Free Zone, titled The Beginner's Guide to L. Ron Hubbard. The Observer's Anthony Andrew said "Hardeep Singh Kohli provided a hysterical, though not unsympathetic, insight into the workings of Scientology."[10]

Kohli presented a documentary In Search of the Tartan Turban, which explored cultural identity as a Briton and a Scot belonging to an ethnic minority. Kohli won a BAFTA for this one-off leading to Channel 4 commissioning a five part series called "Hardeep Does..." that covered a variety of topical issues including sex, religion and pets.[11]

Kohli was the presenter for series two of CBBC game show Get 100. In June 2009, he was one of five volunteers who took part in a BBC series of three programmes Famous, Rich and Homeless about living penniless on the streets of London.[12]

Kohli appears quite frequently as a panellist on The Wright Stuff on Channel Five. He has occasionally hosted the programme while Matthew Wright (the host presenter) has been on holiday or been taken ill.[13]


Kohli wrote and presented BBC Radio 4's "Crossing the Border" described by the Telegraph's Gillian Reynolds as "a fine set of documentaries for the 60th anniversary of Indian independence and partition."[14]

This led to further BBC Radio 4 commissions, "Where Scotland Meets England" and "Where England Meets Wales".

In 2010 Radio 2 commissioned "Great British Faith", a city based series looking at the spiritual life and history of six British cities. Described as "a terrific series" by The Guardian's Elisabeth Mahoney who was "impressed by the depth and scope of their portraits. Kohli brought to the programmes a real sense of the spiritual textures of these urban landscapes."[15]

His highly personal BBC Radio 4 documentary 'The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper' won the Third Coast Directors' Choice Award in the 2010 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. The story was produced in 2008 by Adam Fowler with presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli of Ladbroke Productions, for BBC Radio 4.[16]

In 2011 Kohli’s authored series about words and language “15 by 15” was awarded a Silver at the New York Radio Festival.[17]

In 2012 Kohli recorded his first series of Hardeep’s Sunday Lunch, a programme that explores people’s lives while Kohli cooks lunch. The sixth series was broadcast in the autumn of 2017 and early 2018. Edward Wickham in the Church Times said, "If there was any doubt about the power and influence which can be exerted by apple crumble and custard, then it will have been dispelled by last week's edition of Hardeep's Sunday Lunch."[18]

In August 2013, Kohli presented his third edition of The Food Programme on Radio 4 "Ode to a Bacon Roll", about his fondness for bacon.


From 2007 to 2009 Kohli wrote Hardeep is your Love, a column for Scotland on Sunday,[19] He was twice nominated but unplaced as Columnist of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.

Kohli occasionally writes for The Guardian, The Observer, GQ magazine, Metro (British newspaper), The Spectator and The Independent. As a feature writer for High Life Magazine for British Airways, he was nominated but unplaced in 2014 for the AITO Travel Writer of the Year.

From mid-2014 until the end of 2015 Kohli was the food writer at Daily Record (Scotland). Currently he writes a short column for the Sunday Herald and is a food writer and occasional political writer at The New European.

Kohli is co-founder of the Byline Festival of independent journalism.[20]


Hardeep Singh Kohli performing at Isle of Arts 2012, in Ventnor, Isle of Wight.

At the Edinburgh Festival Fringe In August 2009 Kohli performed his debut one-man show, The Nearly Naked Chef, the first live curry cooking comedy show ever.[21]

This was followed by two years of "Chat Masala" where Kohli interviewed famous folk while cooking them a curry.

"Indian Takeaway" was the 2012 show where Kohli phoned in a takeaway while cooking his own version letting the audience decide the winner.

2013 he did a short run of new material which became "Hardeep is Your Love" in 2014. The following year was "Bigmouth Strikes Again". In 2016 his love of music was the inspiration for "Mixtape: My Life Through Music". "The show needed more joke content, structure and general fleshing out to be complete. Perhaps if he could get through more than just three songs, that might help," said BroadwayBaby. [22]

The 2017 show, "Alternative, Fact" is all about the world of politics.


Kohli has written a book about food and travel in India, Indian Takeaway (2008), described by The Guardian as 'likeable but clumsy'.[23] Also in 2008, Kohli was a judge for the Man Booker Prize.


Hardeep is on the Board of the National Theatre of Scotland.[24] In 2017 Kohli became a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts, and is Creative Director at the Innovation Academy[25]

Personal life[edit]

Kohli is the father of two children – he was divorced in 2009 from Sharmilla Kohli. His younger brother is the successful film and TV actor and writer Sanjeev Kohli.[2][26]

Kohli is also a landlord in Glasgow. This was much discussed when his properties were condemned by officials as "grubby and dirty" and substandard. He was warned about his conduct as a landlord. [27]

Political views[edit]

Support for Scottish Independence[edit]

Kohli wrote and spoke in support of the campaign for a 'yes' vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, appearing at the rallies for Scottish independence on 22 September 2012 and on 21 September 2013 in Edinburgh.[28]

Kohli returned to Scotland prior to the referendum in order to take a prominent role in the Yes campaign but, when media opportunities were not forthcoming, he still lives in Glasgow. Kohli joined the Scottish National Party in November 2014 after the independence referendum.


  1. ^ "Pick of the Week: 23/01/11". Pick of the Week. 2011-01-23. Event occurs at 18.15–19.00. BBC. BBC Radio 4. 
  2. ^ a b c "Relative Values: Hardeep Singh Kohli and his brother Sanjeev". London: The Times. 26 August 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Sale, Jonathan – "The Independent: My First Job: Hardeep Singh Kohli, comedy writer, was a theatre usher"[permanent dead link] 28 June 2007
  4. ^ "Hardeep Singh Kohli-newsnight review". BBC 2. 9 September 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Take a walk on the W1 side". London: The Guardian. 2 June 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "The hosts-Meet the Magoos". More4. Archived from the original on 11 January 2006. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "A fool's paradise". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 
  8. ^ Gill, AA. "The light's on but nobody's home". timesonline.co.uk. The Sunday Times. 
  9. ^ "Hardeep Singh Kohli appeared in Sport Relief Does The Apprentice for charity", Charities Aid Foundation, 28 February 2008. Retrieved on 2008-02-29.
  10. ^ "Islam? That's a nightclub right?". The Guardian. The Guardian. 
  11. ^ "Faith and Belief". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Famous, Rich and Homeless". BBC One. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Guests from 30th May 2011". Channel5.com. 2 May 2011. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Reynolds, Gillian. "On radio: A political drama that fails to get my vote". The Telegraph. Telegraph. 
  15. ^ "Radio review: The Great British Faith". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 
  16. ^ "Third Coast International Audio Festival". Third Coast. 
  17. ^ "2012 World's Best Radio Programme Winners". New York Festivals. 
  18. ^ "Curry & Crumble". Church Times. Church Times. 
  19. ^ "Don't lose your heads over my turban". Scotland on Sunday. 7 October 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  20. ^ "How Byline Festival Plans To Fight Back Against Fake News". Huffington Post. 
  21. ^ Julian Hall (20 August 2009). "Hardeep Singh Kohli: The Nearly Naked Chef, The Gilded Balloon". The Independent. London. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  22. ^ http://broadwaybaby.com/shows/hardeep-singh-kohlis-mix-tape/712954
  23. ^ London: The Guardian, 13 September 2008, 'Melting pot – Nicholas Clee chews over the link between what we eat and who we are'
  24. ^ "Board Member Profile - Hardeep Singh Kohli". National Theatre of Scotland. 
  25. ^ "About Us". Innovation Academy. 
  26. ^ "Birmingham Mail – What's On – Theatre in Birmingham – Comedy: Hardeep Singh Kohli on cooking and comedy". birminghammail.net. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  27. ^ http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12465051.Comedian_Singh_Kohli_apos_s_rented_Glasgow_flats__apos_grubby_and_dirty_apos_/
  28. ^ "BBC News - Scottish independence: Yes campaigners rally in Edinburgh". BBC News. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 

External links[edit]