The Buddha of Suburbia (TV serial)

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The Buddha of Suburbia
The Buddha of Suburbia (TV).jpg
DVD cover
Based onThe Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
Screenplay byHanif Kureishi
Roger Michell
Directed byRoger Michell
StarringNaveen Andrews
Roshan Seth
Susan Fleetwood
Steven Mackintosh
Theme music composerDavid Bowie
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes4
Producer(s)Kevin Loader
CinematographyJohn McGlashan
Editor(s)Kate Evans
Running time55-60 minutes
Production company(s)BBC Films
Original networkBBC Two
Picture format14:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release3 November (1993-11-03) –
24 November 1993 (1993-11-24)
External links

The Buddha of Suburbia is a British four-part television serial, directed by Roger Michell, originally broadcast on BBC Two in November 1993. Based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Hanif Kureishi, the series starred Naveen Andrews as the main character, Karim Amir. Its theme song, as well as other original music for the series, was written and performed by David Bowie (this work also inspired Bowie's related 'soundtrack' album of the same name).

Unable to find distribution in America, the series was given a limited engagement screening at The Public Theater in Manhattan from December 1994 to January 1995.[1]


Karim Amir is a mixed-race 17-year-old who lives in a South London suburb during the 1970s. With an English mother and a Pakistani father, Karim is uncertain of his cultural identity. As his father becomes a kind of spiritual guru to the surrounding middle-class neighbours, Karim begins to explore his cultural roots with hopes that he will achieve sexual and racial self-realisation.




Segments for the series were filmed at Naveen Andrews' old school Emanuel School.[citation needed] The extras used in the series were real punks, skinheads, suedeheads, hippies, and musicians cast by actress Barbie Wilde.[2]


The series features many songs from the seventies, as well as music written and performed specifically for the series by David Bowie. While a soundtrack album by Bowie was released under the same name on 8 November 1993, the music on the album is completely reworked, with the exception of the programme's theme song "The Buddha of Suburbia".[3] A promotional music video was made for the song, featuring Bowie performing the song while strolling around an English suburb as scenes from the series are intercut throughout.[4] The rest of the original television soundtrack remained unreleased.


  1. ^ O'Connor, John J. (29 December 1994). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; Is the BBC Too Adult For American Viewers?". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  2. ^ Keehnen, Owen. "Wilde Thing or Cenobite Barbie: Barbie Wilde Tells All". Racks and Razors. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  3. ^ Bowie, David. The Buddha of Suburbia liner notes (BMG International, 1994) (available at Bassman's David Bowie page Archived 22 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine)
  4. ^ David Bowie (1993). Buddha of Suburbia (Music Video). EMI. Retrieved 14 March 2013.

External links[edit]