British Indian filmmaker Gurinder Chadha said she hopes her new Raj era television show about an East India Company officer, which hits TV screens in the UK on Sunday, will help inform Britain's youth about the history of Britain's colonial past.
'Beecham House', a six-part television series for the ITV channel, is filmed in Jaipur and set on the cusp of the 19th century during the British colonial era. It tells the story of former soldier John Beecham who arrives in India with the hope of settling down with his family in a mansion he has bought in Delhi.
"A lot of young people don't even know that Britain had an empire because the British empire is not taught in schools and perhaps one of the reasons it's not taught is actually it's quite an uncomfortable period in British history,? said Chadha, the co-creator, writer and director of the new series.
"'Beecham House' is a passion project that is driven by my commitment to telling diverse, emotionally engaging stories for mainstream international audiences. I grew up with Raj dramas like 'Jewel in the Crown', 'The Far Pavilions' and 'A Passage To India'. This is my chance to tell those stories from a British Asian perspective," said the filmmaker behind acclaimed films like 'Bend it Like Beckham' and 'Viceroy's House'.
The period drama with grand costumes revolves around John Beecham, played by Tom Bateman, who is determined to begin a new life with his family but is haunted by his past.
The cast is made up of a spectrum of British and Indian actors, who Chadha says play original characters that will appeal to global audiences "hungry to see stories from a unique point of view?. The show has been widely dubbed as 'Downton in Delhi' after another popular period drama on ITV called 'Downton Abbey' set in the early 1900s in England.