Blogtor Who takes a look at one of this week’s Doctor Who guest stars, Hamza Jeetooa, who plays Manish in Demons of the Punjab.

As an actor, filmmaker and acting tutor, Hamza Jeetooa is well versed in multiple aspects of his craft. He initially graduated with a business degree from Queen Mary University of London, before training as a professional actor at the capital’s Central School of Speech and Drama.

Following his graduation in 2010 Jeetooa has appeared in a wide and varied range of theatre, film and television productions, as well as directing a number of short films. Read on to check out just some of his career highlights…

Hamza Jeetooa On TV

Jeetooa’s small screen debut came soon after his graduation with a role in the acclaimed crime series, starring Idris Elba as the titular detective. He appeared in the third episode of the drama’s second series as petrol station worker Depak; check out his role in the story’s opening moments in full on BBC iPlayer.

Keen fans of the Doctor Who universe’s cast may have seen Jeetooa in the BBC iPlayer-exclusive series My Jihad, released on the platform in 2015. The four-part romantic comedy tells the story of Nazir (Jeetooa), a single British Muslim man looking for a wife who encounters Fahmida – played by The Sarah Jane Adventures star Anjli Mohindra (Rani Chandra) – at a speed-dating event.

Despite being tucked away online, My Jihad was not only well received critically – described by one reviewer as ‘utterly superb‘ – but also secured Jeetooa a Best Actor nomination at 2016’s Eastern Eye Arts, Culture & Theatre Awards.

So far this year, Jeetooa has been seen in a series of dramatic roles. This summer he appeared in a two-episode stint of the Midlands-based BBC medical soap Doctors as Riz Ali, the frantic single father of a missing child whose fate is eventually revealed in a heartbreaking twist. Soon after this he took on another two-episode guest role, this time in Our Girl. Both of Jeetooa’s episodes of the military drama series, in which he played Captain Das, are still available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

More recently, Jeetooa has been seen in the internationally co-produced drama series Ransom. The show, which follows hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts) and his team, featured Jeetooa as Nabil Khoury during its season two finale, which first aired in the US earlier this year before making its way to UK screens in the autumn.

Other past dramas for Jeetooa include an early regular role as Afghan translator Vans in the Canadian series Combat Hospital, as well as guest roles in the UK on Holby City, The Interceptor, Babylon and Silent Witness. In an early link with this week’s Doctor Who episode, he appeared in the 2015 BBC mini-series Capital as Usman; his eldest brother was played by Adeel Akhtar, who would go on to win a BAFTA for his role in Demons of the Punjab writer Vinay Patel’s haunting drama Murdered By My Father.

Although a significant portion of Jeetooa’s television work has been in drama, he has proven himself equally as adept in the world of comedy. He appeared as Alan in two episodes of the BBC supernatural comedy-drama Being Human – created by Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse – and popped up in an episode of the final series of The Thick of It as Raj, an academy student who challenges government minister Peter Mannion (Roger Allam) during the launch of a new tech initiative.

Jeetooa has also appeared in multiple episodes of the comedy web series The Corner Shop Show, set – unsurprisingly – in a corner shop. The show, which launched online in 2014, was created by Islah Abdur-Rahman who also plays Malik, manager of The Corner Shop. A rival shop, The Off License, soon opens up across the road, with worker Amil (Jeetooa) and his boss Saif (Hassan Khan) determined to cause trouble for The Corner Shop:

Hamza Jeetooa On Film

As well as a lead role in Der Koch – a full-length German/Swiss adaptation of the Martin Suter novel The Chef – Jeetooa can also be seen in several film shorts. The most recent of these was the moving LGBTQ drama Teddy, the directorial debut of Homo Sapiens podcast co-host Christopher Sweeney:

Other shorts in which Jeetooa has appeared include Void – his 2007 debut screen role – as well as The VolunteersLove in a Time of Death and The Showreel, starring Yaisa Figueroa as office cleaner Nasreen, who dreams so strongly about becoming a screen actor that she starts creating her own adventures to star in:

As well as his film roles as an actor, Jeetooa has also displayed considerable skill behind the camera, particularly in partnership with his actress and writer wife Natalie Perera. Most recently he produced and directed the short film National Anthem, written by and starring Perera as Tulsi (Perera), an immigrant facing a citizenship test with mercilessly high stakes.
Last year’s dark comedy was selected for several film festivals, including a BAFTA screening as part of last year’s London Asian Film Festival, and was awarded a runner-up prize for Best Short Film at the Edinburgh Indie Film Festival that same year.

Hamza Jeetooa On Stage

Whilst not as prolific on stage as on screen, Jeetooa has still enjoyed success in a variety of theatre roles. The most recent of these was Teh Internet Is Serious Business (not a typo), a timely fictionalised account of the rise of hacktivist groups such as Anonymous, which was staged at the Royal Court Theatre in 2014.

Other stage productions for Jeetooa include Guantanamo Boy, staged at Stratford Circus in 2012. The play, adapted from Anna Perera’s novel of the same name, saw Jeetooa play the lead role of Khalid, a Rochdale teen abducted from his family and held without charge in Guantanamo Bay. In 2008 Jeetooa played Aki in Sweet Cider at the Arcola Theatre; the debut offering from playwright Emteaz Hussain examined fractured family ties in the Pakistani community:

Demons Of The Punjab

In Sunday’s episode of Doctor Who Jeetooa will play the part of ManishWe know little about him so far, except that he is one of a number of people that the TARDIS team will encounter during their travels back in time to to visit Yaz’s grandmother Umbreen (Amita Suman) in India, 1947. With the country also besieged by Partition and mysterious demons roaming the land, how exactly is Manish involved in the events of Demons of the Punjab?

Doctor Who continues this Sunday 11th November on BBC One and BBC America with Demons of the Punjab.

“What’s the point of having a mate with a time machine, if you can’t nip back and see your gran when she was younger?” India, 1947. The Doctor and her friends arrive in the Punjab, as the country is being torn apart. While Yaz attempts to discover her grandmother’s hidden history, the Doctor discovers demons haunting the land. Who are they and what do they want?

Guest starring Shane Zaza, Amita Suman and Hamza Jeetooa. Written by Vinay Patel. Directed by Jamie Childs.


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