WHAT: Hounslow Diaries
WHY: Upon hearing about ‘Hounslow Diaries’, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A twenty-minute TV short depicting the lives of three young Muslim women living in London is not something we usually see on our TV screens. And yet I found myself enjoying every minute of it. The show stars Ambreen Razia, Mandeep Dhillon, Robyn Cara, three teens looking for a night out beyond the monotonous every day of hanging out at chicken shops and local clubs. An endearing story develops that encapsulates the lengths young adult will go for what they want, even for something as simple as a night out in central London.
We see from the opening scene that Shaheeda, Tash, and Leonie are a close group of friends who are close not just because of their shared religion, but because of their similar interests outside of that. They’re all young and not necessarily as invested in practicing their beliefs as their parents may wish for them to be, making them the perfect group to carry the seemingly straightforward plot: get the funds together for their night out. We see them struggle with the problems one may face when an adventurous teen with strict parents, but also how they support each other in their endeavours to have fun. Throughout they push each other to be better, more daring and become closer as a result.
Despite the light-hearted tone of the show, however, it suffers from a few problems in my opinion. For one, Tash, the resident bad influence of the trio seems to show little growth away from her “kleptomania” or urge to steal without need or profit. Perhaps it would have been nice to see how her friends could help her become a more functional member of society. Similarly, a few of the storylines were left unanswered for by the end of the episode. The cheating fiancé, for instance, would have been a funny situation to see the girls deal with upon arriving home after their night out. These issues are relative however, the show is only twenty minutes. Any longer and perhaps the endearing characteristics of the group, their humorous one-liners, and impulsivity, would have been lost behind a seriousness that the show never claims to present.
‘Hounslow Diaries’ does an excellent job of depicting the lives of young Muslim women in London without becoming too concerned with defining them by their religion. While Leonie, the more reserved member of the trio, decides she doesn’t want to remove her hijab on their night out, the other girls accept her and her choices, instead of helping her by dressing her up in other ways. The girls have each other’s back no matter what which is delightful to see.
Overall, I would love to see more from the three women of ‘Hounslow Diaries’ and would definitely recommend watching the twenty-minute snippet into their lives. The word ‘Hijinks’ has never been apter.
WHO: Abreen Razia, Mandeep Dhillon, Robyn Cara, Preeya Kalidas
WHERE: BBC 3 on iPlayer
TBB’s recommendation by Jade Fakokunde