ITV has ordered India-set drama Beecham House from Bend It Like Beckham filmmaker Gurinder Chadha and her Bend It TV. The six-part series takes place on the cusp of 19th century in Delhi, following the fortunes of the residents of the titular mansion. Written by Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges, Shahrukh Husain and Victor Levin (Mad Men, Mad About You), it will be filmed in India during the fall of this year for air in 2019.
The story begins as 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. 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, he sets his sights on becoming an honorable member of the region’s trading community.
But in the glorious setting of Beecham House, John’s life remains shrouded in mystery. His arrival provokes speculation and gossip amongst the servants and despite filling his residence with relatives and friends, Beecham’s house still has dark corners that crackle with conspiracy, disharmony and sinister intent. The story also unfolds at a time when the 1,000-year-old Mughal rule is over and the British vie with the Maharajas to claim India as their own.
Chadha says Beecham House is a passion project “driven by my commitment to telling diverse, emotionally engaging stories for mainstream international audiences.”
The project follows Chadha’s 2017 feature, Viceroy’s House, which likewise took place in a resplendent New Delhi mansion. It was set in 1947 and centered on Lord Mountbatten’s time overseeing India’s transition from British rule to independence. IFC released in the U.S.
Multi-hypenate Chadha is also developing feature Blinded By The Light, a comedy/drama adapted from Sarfraz Manzoor’s 2007 memoir Greetings From Bury Park. The autobiographical story is based on journalist/broadcaster Manzoor’s experiences growing up as a Muslim and die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan in Luton, England.
Last year, FremantleMedia took a 25% stake in Bend It TV which currently has orders for returning premium drama series with ITV Drama, BBC Drama and Sky Atlantic. FremantleMedia International will handle global distribution of Beecham House. Caroline Levy is producer.