London, May 6 (newsin.asia):The BBC is to screen its first period drama featuring an entirely non-white cast after securing the rights to A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth’s sprawling novel set in post-colonial India, www.telegraph.co.uk reports.
The book will be adapted into a lavish eight-part series with a script from Andrew Davies, the screenwriter whose hits include the famous 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and last year’s adaptation of War and Peace.
Filming begins later this year and it is expected to occupy the coveted Sunday night slot reserved for popular costume dramas such as Poldark.
The announcement follows a warning from Ofcom ,the BBC’s regulator, that its television output is too white and fails to appeal to viewers from ethnic minorities.
Piers Wenger, the BBC’s head of drama, said it was “a deliberate gamble” to adapt a drama with no White characters.
“Historically, the story of British colonial rule has been the approach that British writers and producers have taken to telling a story set outside the UK,” Wenger said.
“We are here to take creative risks and to do the sort of work that commercial broadcasters might be more reluctant to do. But we also have a real responsibility and a requirement to reflect a range of British communities.”
Wenger said the family saga, which follows a mother’s determined efforts to marry off her younger daughter, has echoes of Pride and Prejudice.
“It’s a 20th century classic and it is obviously set outside the UK in a world which is non-white, non-British, and yet which has big universal themes at the heart of it.”
It is one of a number of new commissions announced by Wenger, who was appointed last year.
He said: “We know that the biggest risks deliver the biggest hits and in a landscape which is so fast changing, ideas need to be well ahead of the curve.”
(The featured image at the top is of Vikram Seth)