Sunday with Adeel Akhtar: ‘Butter chicken is a favourite’

The actor describes his busy family day, hopefully involving scrumptious Asian food care packages from Mum

Sunday morning? We’re woken up by Ezra, my youngest, anytime from 5.30am. It feels totally unreasonable, if you ask me. He grabs my wife’s hand to yank her out of bed. If I’m lucky, he’ll leave me out of it. We’ll drag out breakfast with drawing, Lego and books, until it’s obvious we have to leave the house.

A day to yourself? I can barely remember. I’d quite like a pint. Before I was married, I spent long Sunday afternoons at a fancy cinema. I’d take a book and arrive an hour early for the film, to read and soak in the atmosphere. Afterwards, I’d have dinner at the bar. It was a little break from life.

Growing up? I went to boarding school, and there was regimentation. After breakfast we were forced to sit and write letters home. In the afternoons, we had free time. In winters we’d explore; summers were spent wading around a lake. I treasured those rare moments, roaming free.

Sunday lunch? Mum’s from East Africa and Dad’s Pakistani – Sunday lunches are glorious at theirs. When we visit, Mum still gives us Asian care packages to take with us – two huge bags for life, full of food. Butter chicken is a favourite, although I love her okra and sweetcorn curries. They keep us fed for days.

Sunday night? Bath-time is at 6pm, but it’s invariably 6:30pm; an hour later we’re still chasing them trying to get pyjamas on. We’ll read books until their energy depletes: that’s between four and seven stories. As soon as we’re done they just get up and run around the house, again. Hopefully, at some point, they fall sleep.

A special Sunday? May 2017, the TV Baftas: I won best leading actor. All these people I’d admired for years were there. My eldest was nine months old, so we left him at the hotel with my mother-in-law. We rushed back to relieve her and then my wife sent me off to have fun, which I did. It’s all a blur until I finally reappeared at 8am.

Watch Back to Life Series Two Tuesdays at 10.35pm on BBC One, and on BBC iPlayer


Michael Segalov

The GuardianTramp

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