'Big Bang Theory' star Alice Amter, who plays Raj's mother Mrs. Koothrappali, admits that she has found it surreal being surrounded by devoted fans on her return to her native Birmingham.
Amter, who moved to LA more than two decades ago, calls it "seriously trippy, spotting people dressed in Sheldon's T-shirts and seeing Flash Gordon costumes everywhere. It's nerd-dom at its best, and people speaking to me about my job in Birmingham accents".
Alice Amter stars with Kunal Nayyar and Brian George in 'The Big Bang Theory'
The Big Bang Theory, now in its sixth series, has undoubtedly got some serious love from its fans, but it was only in its infancy when Amter first auditioned. She didn't even recognise a certain small screen legend sitting in the room facing her...
"It was just another audition for me at the time," she recalls now. "I thought it was a funny script, and it required a funny, typical East Indian mother, whom I'd seen plenty of growing up on the streets of Birmingham.
"I had no idea who Chuck Lorre was. He was in the room both times, and if I'd known that, I would definitely have been thrown off. But he didn't impose himself at all. It was actually Bill Prady who directed me."
Raj speaks to his parents via computer
Amter was only meant to be in the show for one episode, but her on-screen chemistry with actor Brian George meant she secured regular returns. Why does she think it is so popular?
"It's cleverly written and funny," she says, before adding, "But I also think we're ready for those characters. The 1990s was full of all those beautiful people in 'Baywatch' and '90210', these unrealistic norms, but now these people are more in line with the technological advances and evolution that's gone on in people's lives."
Amter reveals that her fellow cast members are nothing like as nerdish as their characters - "it's the writers who are, really" but includes herself in that list - "I was a bookworm at school, I just studied and studied. I wasn't cool and hip at all."
Things have changed. Amter is self-admittedly living the life in the sunshine of LA, the city where she told a certain bearded director he "was a dead ringer for Steven Spielberg" when she first arrived.
Alice Amter is living the dream, bumping into Hollywood superstars, even if she doesn't recognise them
Although she has to think hard when pressed for what she misses about her native UK, Amter admits she probably wouldn't have got her Big Bang gig without her English sense of humour. "I do rely a lot on my English wit. It's very different from , but it definitely helps."
the rain teabags, curries? No. People are so friendly, kind and helpful here. sense of humour, If I wasn't english I don't know if I would have got the job, I do rely a lot on my english wit. It's very different, but it definitely helps.