Hardeep Singh Kohli

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Hardeep Singh Kohli
Kohli in 2012
Born (1969-01-21) 21 January 1969 (age 54)
London, England
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
Occupation(s)Presenter, Writer, Director
RelativesSanjeev Kohli (brother)

Hardeep Singh Kohli (born 21 January 1969)[1] is a British presenter, writer and director of Sikh heritage who has appeared on various radio and television programmes. Having moved to Scotland at a young age he has had a long association with the arts in Scotland, he is known more widely across the United Kingdom as a presenter on the BBC across television and radio, and Channel 4. He was also a finalist on Celebrity MasterChef in 2006 and a contestant in Celebrity Big Brother in 2018. Kohli was arrested and charged in 2023, in connection with alleged non-recent sexual offences and is awaiting a trial date.[2]


Kohli was born in London and moved to Glasgow, Scotland, when he was four.[3] 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 who became a wealthy property landlord in the Bishopbriggs suburb.[3] His first school was Hillhead Primary School in the West End of Glasgow, after which he attended Meadowburn Primary in Bishopbriggs.[4]

At age eight, he moved to John Ogilvie Hall, the primary school of St Aloysius' College, a private Roman Catholic school in central Glasgow.[5] Kohli studied Law at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 1990. While at university he worked in a vegetarian restaurant and as an usher at the Citizens Theatre.[6]



After graduating from university Kohli joined the BBC Scotland graduate production trainee scheme.[7] He later worked in BBC Television Centre, London, directing children's TV, before moving to Youth and Entertainment Features in Manchester to become a series director on Janet Street-Porter's series Reportage. He was a director 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.[8] He directed commercials and worked in TV development and broadcast occasionally on BBC Radio 5 Live.[citation needed]

He wrote, directed and starred in Channel 4's Meet the Magoons in 2004. The critical response was lukewarm and it failed to find an audience. The kinder reviewers listed here[9] include Nancy Banks Smith who wrote it was "modern to the point of surreal"[10] with A. A. Gill put forward a hope that it might "evolve into something classic"[11] The show was entered for a Rose at the Montreux Comedy Festival but did not make the final list.[citation needed]

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 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 appeared on Gordon Ramsay: Cook Along Live. He also participated in a celebrity edition of The Apprentice to raise money for charity.[12] 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 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. 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. The show won a Schools BAFTA. Channel 4 commissioning a five part series called "Hardeep Does..." that covered a variety of topical issues including sex, religion and pets.[13]

Kohli was the presenter of the second series 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.[14]

Kohli has appeared as a panelist on The Wright Stuff on Channel Five. He occasionally hosted the programme when Matthew Wright (the host presenter) was on holiday or ill.[15]

Kohli was a reporter for The One Show, but was suspended in 2009 for six months amidst informal allegations of "inappropriate behaviour" towards a researcher.[16][17]

On 16 August 2018, Kohli entered the UK television show, Celebrity Big Brother as a celebrity housemate. He was nominated four times for eviction while in the Big Brother house, before he was finally eliminated on 7 September 2018. Kohli became the fifth housemate to be evicted.[citation needed]


Kohli wrote and presented BBC Radio 4's "Hippy Trail" described by the Telegraph's Gillian Reynolds as "he patently had no real interest in the European and American hippies who trekked overland to India in the 1960s. At times, he seemed positively contemptuous, as if he were wondering why he was bothering"[18] He also presented BBC Radio 4 commissions, "Where Scotland Meets England" and "Where England Meets Wales".[citation needed]

In 2010 Radio 2 broadcast "Great British Faith", a city based series looking at the spiritual life and history of six British cities. Described as "terrific" by Kohli's friend Elisabeth Mahoney in The Guardian she 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."[19]

Under producer Adam Fowler, he presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary 'The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper' won a prize in Illinois in 2010 as Third Coast Directors' Choice Award for Ladbroke Productions.[20]

In 2011 Kohli presented a series about words and language "15 by 15" which took a Silver at the New York Radio Festival.[21]

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.

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,[22] He was twice put forward but unplaced as Columnist of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.

Kohli occasionally writes for The Guardian, The Observer, GQ magazine, Metro, 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 the Daily Record and wrote a short column for the Sunday Herald.


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, billed as 'the first live curry cooking comedy show ever'.[23]

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.[24]


Kohli wrote a book about food and travel in India, Indian Takeaway (2008), described by The Guardian as 'likeable but clumsy'.[25] Also in 2008, Kohli was a judge for the Man Booker Prize.[16]


Hardeep was a board member of the National Theatre of Scotland.[26] In 2017 Kohli became a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts, and Creative Director at the Innovation Academy.[27] In 2023, he was controversially voted onto the "elite" executive committee of the British-American Project BAP.[28]


Hardeep hosted the Brit Asia TV Music Awards on its debut in 2010[29] and on the following events in 2011[30] and 2012.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Kohli is the father of two children.[citation needed] He was divorced in 2009.[citation needed] His younger brother is the actor and writer Sanjeev Kohli.[3][32] The Daily Telegraph reported in 2023 that Kohli is in a relationship with, Jo Lindley a UK project director with British-American Project of which Kohli serves as an executive committee member.[28]

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.[33]

On 25 March 2019, Kohli appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court, where he admitted to driving without a licence on West Nile Street in Glasgow on 10 April 2018. Kohli's driving licence had been revoked in October 2017. The court heard Kohli had experienced tingling in his foot and went to the doctor to find out what was wrong. The doctor then wrote to the DVLA about his problem which meant his licence was cancelled. Kohli's defence lawyer Garvey McCardle said: "He was worried about his foot and he was experiencing pins and needles and he contacted his doctor. She was zealous in her approach and she told the DVLA that it led to numbness, he didn’t know she wrote to them".[34] He was convicted and fined £180.[35]

Sexual misconduct allegations[edit]

In 2020, Singh Kohli was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, including some in the comedy industry. It was at a show where he approached a younger performer and offered to use his influence to boost her career. Lulu Popplewell alleged that an offer of help was accompanied by an invitation to spend the night in his bed and has accused Kohli of attempting to abuse his power.[36][37] In response, Singh Kohli said: "It is now clear to me that my actions and words made women feel intimidated, undermined and undervalued. For this, I apologise unreservedly and can only hope to live a life of greater understanding."[38][39][40]

2023 arrest[edit]

On 9 August 2023, Hardeep was arrested and charged in connection with alleged[2] "non-recent" sexual offences.[41][42] The 54-year-old is due to appear in court at a later date.[43] His arrest follows an investigation conducted by The Times in 2020, in which several people had 'raised concerns about him'.[44]

Political views[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.[45]

Kohli returned to Scotland prior to the referendum in order to take a prominent role in the Yes Scotland campaign. He joined the Scottish National Party in November 2014, following the "Yes" campaign's defeat at the independence referendum.[citation needed]



  1. ^ "Pick of the Week: 23/01/11". Pick of the Week. 23 January 2011. Event occurs at 18.15–19.00. BBC. BBC Radio 4.
  2. ^ a b Carrell, Severin; editor, Severin Carrell Scotland (9 August 2023). "Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli charged with non-recent sexual offences". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 October 2023. {{cite news}}: |last2= has generic name (help)
  3. ^ a b c "Relative Values: Hardeep Singh Kohli and his brother Sanjeev". The Times. London. 26 August 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  4. ^ Kohli, Hardeep Singh (20 December 2015). "This columnist disnae like Christmas. But I can't wait to spend it with my kid". The Herald (Glasgow).
  5. ^ "Passed/Failed: Hardeep Singh Kohli". The Independent. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  6. ^ Sale, Jonathan – "The Independent: My First Job: Hardeep Singh Kohli, comedy writer, was a theatre usher"[dead link] 28 June 2007
  7. ^ "Hardeep Singh Kohli-newsnight review". BBC 2. 9 September 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Take a walk on the W1 side". The Guardian. London. 2 June 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  9. ^ "The hosts-Meet the Magoos". More4. Archived from the original on 11 January 2006. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  10. ^ Banks-Smith, Nancy (10 September 2005). "A fool's paradise". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  11. ^ Gill, AA. "The light's on but nobody's home". The Sunday Times.
  12. ^ "Hardeep Singh Kohli appeared in Sport Relief Does The Apprentice for charity", Charities Aid Foundation, 28 February 2008. Retrieved on 29 February 2008.
  13. ^ "Faith and Belief". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  14. ^ "Famous, Rich and Homeless". BBC One. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  15. ^ "Guests from 30th May 2011". Channel5.com. 2 May 2011. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Hardeep Singh Kohli: The BBC hung me out to dry". Evening Standard. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2023.
  17. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (13 July 2009). "Hardeep Singh Kohli suspended from The One Show for six months". the Guardian.
  18. ^ Reynolds, Gillian. "On radio: A political drama that fails to get my vote". Telegraph.
  19. ^ "Radio review: The Great British Faith". The Guardian. 16 December 2010.
  20. ^ "Third Coast International Audio Festival". Third Coast.
  21. ^ "2012 World's Best Radio Programme Winners". New York Festivals.
  22. ^ "Don't lose your heads over my turban". Scotland on Sunday. 7 October 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  23. ^ Julian Hall (20 August 2009). "Hardeep Singh Kohli: The Nearly Naked Chef, The Gilded Balloon". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  24. ^ "Hardeep Singh Kohli's Mix Tape: 2 star review by Sophia Charalambous". broadwaybaby.com.
  25. ^ London: The Guardian, 13 September 2008, 'Melting pot – Nicholas Clee chews over the link between what we eat and who we are'
  26. ^ "Board Member Profile - Hardeep Singh Kohli". National Theatre of Scotland.
  27. ^ "About Us". Innovation Academy.
  28. ^ a b Rayner, Gordon (1 September 2023). "British-American Project at war after Hardeep Singh Kohli appointment". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  29. ^ Sembhi, Jas. "Brit Asia TV Music Awards Winners". DESIblitz. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  30. ^ "Brit Asia TV Music Awards 2011 "AND THE WINNERS ARE..."". Punjab2000.com. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  31. ^ Baddhan, Raj (7 October 2012). "Brit Asia TV Music Awards 2012: The Winners". BizAsia. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  32. ^ "Birmingham Mail – What's On – Theatre in Birmingham – Comedy: Hardeep Singh Kohli on cooking and comedy". birminghammail.net. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  33. ^ "Comedian Singh Kohli's rented Glasgow flats 'grubby and dirty'". HeraldScotland. 5 June 2008.
  34. ^ "Hardeep Singh Kohli blames 'over-zealous doctor' after admitting driving without licence". scotsman.com. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  35. ^ "'You took a risk': Glasgow comedian fined after driving city street without licence". Evening Times. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  36. ^ Horne, Marc (30 June 2020). "Hardeep Singh Kohli: Women turn the spotlight on comic". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  37. ^ Horne, Marc (1 July 2020). "Hardeep Singh Kohli: Promoter's lifetime ban on comic accused of inappropriate actions". The Times. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  38. ^ King, Diane (5 August 2020). "Hardeep Singh Kohli says sorry to women who he 'harassed'". Edinburgh News.
  39. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (5 August 2020). "Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli apologises after being accused of sexual harassment". The Independent. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  40. ^ Horne, Marc (4 August 2020). "Hardeep Singh Kohli apologises for making women feel 'intimidated'". The Times. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  41. ^ "Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli charged with sex offences". BBC News. 9 August 2023. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  42. ^ "Hardeep Singh Kohli charged in connection with sex offence allegations". Glasgow Times. 9 August 2023. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  43. ^ "Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli charged with sex offences". BBC News. 9 August 2023. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  44. ^ Horne, Marc (9 August 2023). "Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli faces new harassment claims". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  45. ^ "Scottish independence: Yes campaigners rally in Edinburgh". BBC News. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2015.

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