Ehab has been living in Sheffield for two years and is asked to point out the UK on a map.
His finger hovers hesitantly over eastern Europe: “Oh, here it is, Ukraine, right?” Channel 4’s new series Keeping Up With The Khans conveys the controversy surrounding immigrants, who some believe are tainting British culture.
However, a hard-hitting, serious documentary that such a subject matter normally produces is not in Channel 4’s style. Expect a lot of laughs and a heart-warming end to this entertaining series.
In the first episode, we meet the asylum seekers living in Sheffield. Viewers are immediately won over by the star of the show, Omar, from Sudan.
Sweeping comments from locals surrounding immigrants sponging off benefits do not apply to Omar’s hard-working nature. Omar loves everything British and dreams of being a British Airways pilot in the next 10 years. It is hard to see how someone can remain upbeat when living off £35 a week in a one-bed flat, and yet Omar is overjoyed.
We learn of his hard struggle – from sleeping in overcrowded makeshift tents in Calais to a stormy boat journey in order to escape his war-torn country.
However, getting to the UK is only the half of it. Other asylum seekers interviewed have been waiting for more than six years before receiving their official visa. This leaves them unsettled and terrified at the prospect of being sent back to a warzone.
In this way, Keeping Up With The Khans succeeds in giving a human face to asylum seekers, something the news does not.
We often hear about staggering numbers of refugees entering the UK and fail to understand that these are individual people, like us, not just statistics.
While some viewers may think Channel 4 insensitive for shedding such a comic light over a very topical issue, most are likely to agree that it brilliantly conveys the real, human struggle behind those who desperately need the security the UK provides.
Image: Darren Flinders