Comedian Tez Ilyas on why Blackburn's so important to his first ever book 'The Secret Diary of a British Muslim Aged 13¾

Report and Blog by Entertainment Correspondent Caroline Whitmore:


He’s the comedian from Blackburn who is so proud of his roots every other word is ‘Blackburn’!! 

Tez Ilyas sat in his beloved Blackburn Rovers football shirt in the same bedroom he had when he was 16- he was very proud to tell me that -while we chatted over Skype. 

Today, the 8th April is his 38th birthday and he’s releasing his first ever book- 'The Secret Diary of a British Muslim Aged 13¾'.

New book released by comedian Tez Ilyas

I list off his achievements: stand up comedian; actor in BBC3 sitcom ‘man like mobeen’; and he’s even got his own show on channel 4 called ‘The Tez o’clock show’; and he says “You’re right Cal - I often pinch myself about little old me from Blackburn and how well I’ve done.... I have to remember to be proud of myself’ 

I often pinch myself about little old me from Blackburn and how well I’ve done.... I have to remember to be proud of myself

Tez Ilyas

His book is a memoir of a 5 year period when he was a teenager and seeing things from his younger self’s point of view. He says "I think it’s a bit of a masterpiece". 

Tez Ilyas as a child Credit: Tez Ilyas

In Tez’s suitably dramatic rollercoaster of a teenage memoir, he takes us back to where it all began: a working class, insular British Asian Muslim community in his hometown of post-Thatcher Blackburn.

Running away from shotgun-wielding farmers, successfully dodging arranged marriages and having front row seats to race riots, you could say life was fairly run of the mill.

Tez Ilyas releases his debut book Credit: Tez Ilyas

But with a GCSE pass rate of 30% at his school, his own fair share of family tragedy around the corner and 9/11 on the horizon, Tez’s experiences of growing up as a British Muslim wasn’t the fun, Jihad-pursuing affair the media wants you to believe. Well, at least not always.

Tez Ilyas as a child Credit: Tez Ilyas

He’s heading out on a stand-up comedy tour later this year but it’s been postponed twice already. He says, "fingers crossed with the vaccine being rolled out we can all look forward to coming to see me on tour. I’m very good- I’d recommend it!!’ 

His book ‘The Secret Diary of a British Muslim Aged 13¾' is out today. 


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