Over the years, Amir Khan and Faryal Makhdoom have been in and out of headlines more times than most people can count. The pair have had their relationship scrutinised by the public since their marriage began back in 2013. So, it came as quite a surprise when it was announced that the couple would be providing insider scoop into their lives with a new reality series called ‘Meeting the Khans: Big in Bolton’. However, unlike the stories in the gossip columns, this reality series would be reintroducing the couple’s narrative to the public in their own way. This time, they would be in control.
‘Meeting the Khans: Big in Bolton’ gives us our first real insight into the lives of Amir Khan, Faryal Makhdoom and their three young children. Stripping away the glitz and glamour of the red carpets and the Instagram filters, the couple provide us with what they are really like in their day-to-day lives. From Faryal’s persuits with her own business to Amir’s contribution to putting Bolton on the map, the show gives us an image of the “real” them rather than their tabloid counterparts.
The series certainly lives up to its promise of providing us with the reality of Faryal and Amir. We see the couple attend date nights, looking after their children, partying it up in Dubai for Faryal’s birthday. The show opens up the pair to the public as normal people, particularly in the case of Faryal, who has mainly been known in the press for her Instagram persona. There are no holes barred when it comes to what the couple are willing to venture into, and we even see Faryal attending therapy sessions and discussing, in depth, the hardships she has faced with regards to her mental health. If you’re a fan of the pair, this will provide you an in-depth perspective on how they live their lives and, even if you’re not a fan, it certainly shows them in a light that has never been highlighted in the press before.
However, in exchange for giving us genuine insight into their lives, narratively the series lulls massively in places. From a character perspective, this is absolutely a positive. Gone are the misconceptions that are plastered constantly about their tumultous relationship, and in its place are left a very normal couple who struggle with their responsibilites just like the rest of us. And whilst it is nice to see them represented like this, it does mean that the show suffers quite a lot from a lack of excitement. Even the thrilling trips to Dubai and New York become a little monotonous when we are watching the show from the perspective of people who see such adventures as a routine part of their lives.
That being said, it should not detract from how much the couple do let us into their life. In many reality shows throughout the years, it has been clear that much of the narrative has been glossed over and put into a shiny package to make it more digestable and presentable to an audience. It is absolutely evident that that is not the case with ‘Meeting the Khans’. The couple do not avoid the perceptions about their relationship and it is even revealed by Faryal throughout that she thought her marriage was over back in 2017. They are honest and open about the difficulties they have faced and the show is a true representation of their lives.
People will undoubtedly have perceptions about the Khan family before entering into this reality series; it is almost impossible to avoid such opinions. However, ‘Meeting the Khans’ does a fantastic job of subverting these ideas from the minute the show begins. Whilst the lack of thrills and excitement become a detriment to the rhythm and pacing of the show in places, the exchange for this is that we see an unscripted and real version of Amir Khan and Faryal Makhdoom. If you want to know what the couple are really like, this may perhaps be the only form of media that gives a genuine impression. We see who they are: a young couple with children who are trying their hardest to make their businesses succeed. They just so happen to have international press constantly watching them.
‘Meeting the Khans: Big in Bolton’ is available to stream on BBC Three now.