‘Being Bilal’ reality show now most-watched on British Muslim TV

Airing since last year, "Being Bilal," a British Muslim unscripted reality TV show has just this month surpassed it's 50th episode

Nabila Pathan
Nabila Pathan - Special to Al Arabiya English
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The reality TV series that follows the adventures of one of UK's most well connected young British Muslims has become the most watched show on British Muslim TV.

Airing since last year, "Being Bilal," a British Muslim unscripted reality TV show has just this month surpassed it's 50th episode and is continuing to attract attention through its social media platforms.

Using Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, social media extends the reality experience of the show as audiences are given the opportunity to interact directly with Bilal and influence the show’s themes.

"Being Bilal" is the "most popular show [on BMTV]... it's had tens of thousands of viewers and the most online engagement" compared to the other shows on the channel, explains Bilal Hassam, the 28-year old star of the show who hails from Leicester.

With a camera person following his footsteps, viewers are given a rare glimpse into the frenetic schedule of British-born doctor-turned-community activist Bilal Hassam. Each episode charts his jet setting lifestyle, intermixed with the trials and tribulations of being a twenty-something Muslim in search of love, spiruality and a sense of belonging.

The inaugural series has already seen him travel the breadth of the U.K. for community and interfaith work, visit Jerulasalem during the holy month of Ramadan, take a road trip through Europe to help out refugees in Greece and interview leading religious and academic figures.

Whilst Bilal finds it difficult to single out a specific moment as a highlight, stating the whole experience was one, he goes on to reveal to Al Arabiya News that "perhaps the series will culminate when I find 'the one' and marry her." But he insists "it doesn't look like that's happening any time soon."

Tariq Chow, who is the series producer of the show, believes that part of the success of the reality tv series stems from the fact that Muslims in Britain rarely see or hear their stories represented in the media:

"Bilal himself, though a prolific networker, is just a regular guy. He is disarmingly friendly, incredibly laid back and has a sharp sense of humour.

"This unprecedented access into the life of a Muslim has allowed for stories that challenge the black and white binary world that mainstream media does little to contextualise and much to reinforce."

Currently "Being Bilal" is available to watch on British Muslim TV and its Video on Demand service. Reflecting on the platform, Chow adds "given the great reception the show, I look forward to finding distribution avenues that see the content unrestricted online where it has the potential to both reflect and influence the conversation surrounding British Muslim identity."

From moments of emotional contemplation to commentary on social political issues, the show aims to challenge prejudices and misconceptions, whilst being inspiring and entertaining, that too on a shoestring budget of a new television station whose mantra is "Confidently British, Comfortably Muslim."

The show airs weekly on Mondays and Thursdays at 10pm on British Muslim TV.

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