The Weakest Link: Romesh Ranganathan's childhood trauma when 'family hit rock bottom' after dad went to prison

The Weakest Link: Romesh Ranganathan’s childhood trauma after dad went to prison

His father left his family for another woman and was jailed for fraud

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Comedian Romesh Ranganathan is proving a hit with viewers of the revived The Weakest Link, with the sardonic star’s approach freshening up the BBC One quiz show.

However, the series hasn’t featured his mum Shanthy – who regularly appears in his telly work – in any capacity. That’s fair enough, as there isn’t really the opportunity for a cameo from her in the format.

Romesh fans have taken Shanthy to their hearts after her hilarious appearances in the likes of Asian Provocateur and The Ranganation. However, his dad Ranga has been absent. Many viewers might wonder: ‘Where is Romesh’s dad?’

Romesh and his mum regularly charm viewers together - but his dad hasn't featured in his shows
Romesh and his mum regularly charm viewers together – but his dad hasn’t featured in his shows (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Why does Romesh not feature his dad in his shows?

Sadly, Romesh lost his dad Ranga before he swapped life as a maths teacher for that of a comedian.

His father reportedly passed away in 2011 from a heart attack.

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However, Ranga was the inspiration for Romesh’s sitcom The Reluctant Landlord, as he once ran a pub in West Sussex.

But in 2018 – around the time his autobiography Straight Outta Crawley: Memoirs Of A Distinctly Average Human Being was released – Romesh opened up about his father going to prison.

Weakest Link host has opened up about how his father's behaviour affect him and his family
Weakest Link host has opened up about how his father’s behaviour affect him and his family (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

‘We ended up going to rock bottom’

Debts resulted in the family home being repossessed when Romesh was a teen. His father, then an accountant, also left his wife and sons to move in with another woman.

Romesh, brother Dinesh and their mum living in one bedroom in a B&B while they waited for a council house. And Shanthy took on a multitude of jobs to keep their heads above water.

Romesh admitted during a 2018 chat that his family circumstances altered his approach to the world.

My dad was a hero to me, but I know he also did some horrible things to my mum.

He said: “It changed my attitude to things. I’d taken things for granted. We ended up going to rock bottom and you have to make your way back up.”

Romesh also reflected how it is difficult for him to address his father’s actions, as Romesh idolised him.

He added: “My dad was a hero to me, but I know he also did some horrible things to my mum.”

‘A profound effect’

Romesh also hinted at how Ranga’s behaviour held bearing over his childhood by recalling when he went to jail.

He was sentence to two years following an arrest for fraud. And Romesh and his family spent Sundays seeing him in an open prison in West Sussex.

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Romesh recounted: “It was horrific. The house gets repossessed, I get taken out of [private] school, then my dad goes to prison. Those experiences definitely had a profound effect on me.”

However, jail brought about a reconciliation between Ranga and his family on his release. Romesh has subsequently described his relationship with his dad as ‘great the beginning and at the end’, but with “a horrible middle bit”.

The Weakest Link airs on BBC One on Saturday January 22 at 6.10pm.

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