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Research academic boxes clever on exciting new BBC documentary

A graphic promoting a BBC Documentary about Sikh boxers

A University of Wolverhampton academic, Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar MBE, has provided expert knowledge as a Consultant for a BBC Documentary ‘Sikh Boxing Warriors’ aired on BBC One on 1 May 2024.   

This is the fifth BBC One Documentary that Opinderjit’s expertise in Sikh Studies has been called upon.  She is also consultant to the long running BBC drama ‘EastEnders’ for the Sikh Panesar family scenes. 

Opinderjit, based in the University’s Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, also leads the University’s Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies, the only academic centre of its kind in the UK.   

The Centre is multi-award winning for both its research and community outreach with its emphasis upon impactful research. In August 2023, Opinderjit was recognised as one of 75 women of Indian heritage to make a global impact through their work to mark 75 years of India’s Independence by the Deputy British High Commissioner to India in the 75@75 global celebrations. 

Dr Takhar said: "It's been an honour to have contributed to the latest BBC One documentary relating to the Sikh community in Britian.  The producers and I have been discussing content and the themes for the past few months and it's great to see it all come together in this very well made documentary.

"My research is focussed on the British Sikh community, one aspect of which is the representation of Sikhs and their faith (Sikhi) in the media, which resulted in the contribution of a high scoring impact case study for REF 2021."

Professor Prashant Pillai, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University, said: "The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is a key metric by which the University's public and community engagement is measured. Opinderjit’s consultancy work with the BBC on a number of documentaries is an example of her strong external profile as an expert in Sikh Studies and outreach with the British Sikh community helping to strengthen the University's reputation in impactful research at a public level." 

Professor Sharon Arkell, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing at the University, said: “I am delighted that Opinderjit has consulted on this documentary for the BBC. Engaging with the communities in and around Walsall and Wolverhampton is key to the outreach work we undertake as a Faculty and we look forward to working with the Boxing coaches in the documentary to strengthen the public engagement activities we undertake as part of our emphasis on impactful research." 

A link to the documentary can be found at: BBC iPlayer - Sikh Boxing Warriors  

Links to previous BBC Documentaries that Opinderjit has contributed to are as follows: 

BBC One - Love, Faith and Me, Series 1, Married, Sikh and Wanting a Baby 

BBC One - A Believer's Guide to..., Series 1, Looking for Love 

BBC iPlayer - Being... - Series 1: 2. Sikh 

BBC One - Young, Sikh and Proud 

Anyone looking to study a degree in the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing should check out the range of courses on the website or visit one of our forthcoming Open Days. 


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