‘The humour, intelligence and new ground being broken in Kaamil’s work is kicking down doors for him’

  • 28
  • Writer/associate producer
  • Count Abdulla (ITVX/ITV2)

Kaamil Shah is “a pragmatist, a young talent somehow unencumbered with the irrationality of youth,” says Fudge Park Productions’ creative director Phil Gilbert. “He has the long game in his sights, and the rough and tumble of pitching and production is not going to steer him off course.”

Kaamil Shah

Shah bagged an agent after a cold submission of his comedy script Count Abdulla, which was picked up by Fudge Park and is now set to air on ITVX next spring and ITV2 later in the year.

The comedy’s high-concept plot – a British-Pakistani Muslim doctor, caught between his religious mother and secular, hedonistic friends, becomes the ultimate outsider when he is bitten by a vampire – illustrates Shah’s ability to flip the script on Muslim representation on screen.

In his four years in the industry, he has landed a first-look deal with Paramount and developed original musical comedy-drama South Hall Story with Silverprint Pictures, a radical retelling of Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone with Urban Myth, and another book adaptation with Red Planet Pictures.

In 2019, he was selected for the UGC Writers Campus at the Series Mania festival in Lille, where he developed an original international thriller, Dubai On Thames, which he is now working on with David Chikwe and Himesh Kar’s Three Tables Productions.

Shah also wrote Shahid’s First Shave, part of BBC Children’s Sparks series of monologues for iPlayer, and was in the writers’ room for CBBC’s Class Dismissed. Another monologue, Moheez Means Business, was written for BBC Asian Network.

Award-winning writing

A graduate of both the London Film School and Cambridge University, Shah wrote and directed short film The Colour Of Milk, which premiered at the BFI Southbank in 2018, and his first stage play, Allah’s Own Country, won a Rafta (Rise Against Fanaticism Through the Arts) scriptwriting award.

Gilbert sees Shah’s success as a shining example of what the industry can achieve when authentic voices and supportive producers and commissioners align.

“Kaamil’s trajectory has been stratospheric – the humour, intelligence and new ground being broken in his work is kicking down doors for him and leading to all his ideas being snapped up,” he says. “Smart, funny, passionate, a great writer – Kaamil is all these things.”

Above all, Gilbert says, Shah is a trailblazer, kicking against the burden often expected of global majority writers to create a monolithic representation of their community. As Shah has said: “Count Abdulla is not the Muslim story – it is a Muslim story.”

In working closely with the writer, Gilbert has found Shah to be “endlessly creative, dedicated to his vision and hungry to learn what makes this complicated industry tick. He is also a total pleasure to spend time with, and I can’t wait to go on more adventures with him soon.”