Bend It Like Beckham writer and producer, Gurinder Chadha, has signed up to write a new drama for ITV.
Set on the cusp of the 19th century in Delhi, Beecham House depicts the fortunes of the residents of an imposing mansion surrounded by acres of exotic woods and pristine lawns. Handsome and soulful, former soldier, John Beecham, has acquired the house to start a new life for his family and a business as a trader.
The lives of the owner, his family and his staff will be the focus of the drama as John Beecham moves into the house determined to make it his safe haven. Yet in spite of filling his residence with relatives and friends, intriguingly Beecham’s house still has dark corners which crackle with conspiracy, disharmony and sinister intent.
Wealthy and distinguished, John has witnessed profiteering and exploitation during his time with the controlling East India Company and appears haunted by his past. Determined to escape that life, John sets his sights on becoming an honourable member of the region’s trading community.
However, in the glorious setting of Beecham House, John’s life remains shrouded in mystery. He arrives with an ‘olive-skinned‘ child and two Indian nursemaids, which adds to speculation and gossip amongst the servants that he may be the boy’s father.
And what of stunning, almond-eyed beauty, Chanchal? Is the child’s intriguing and highly protective nursemaid also his mother? What deep-rooted secrets prevent John from revealing his true self?
Particularly to English Governess Margaret Osborne, whom John asks to be godmother to the child. In desperate need for love but unable to trust easily, is Beecham running from danger or tragedy?
And when his handsome brother, Daniel, and mother arrive to live with him, how will their presence and influence be felt in Delhi at a time when the 1000-year-old Mughal rule is over and the British vie with the Maharajas to claim India as their own?
Written by Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Viceroy’s House, Bhaji On The Beach), Paul Mayeda Berges (Viceroy’s House, The Mistress of Spices, What’s Cooking?, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging), Shahrukh Husain (In Custody) and Victor Levin (Mad Men), the six part series will be filmed in India during the autumn of 2018.
Polly Hill, ITV’s head of drama, commented: “I am delighted to commission this epic and ambitious new drama from the brilliant Gurinder Chadha.
“Beecham House is set in Delhi before the British ruled India in that region, which is exciting by being less familiar to audiences.
“Gurinder brings a fresh take to period drama, but at its heart are wonderful characters and a compelling story that will make this a treat in the ITV schedule next year.”
Chadha added: “Beecham House is a passion project that is driven by my commitment to telling diverse, emotionally engaging stories for mainstream international audiences.
“I am thrilled to be working with Polly Hill and ITV Drama who share my belief that period drama can be entertaining, ambitious and relevant to key issues of today.
“I am assembling a vibrant cast of British and Indian actors to play original characters that will appeal to global audiences hungry to see stories from a unique point of view.”