Gurinder Chadha made Beecham House for Googlebox's Malone family
27 March 2019 - 11:00 AM

Gurinder Chadha made Beecham House for Googlebox's Malone family

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Gurinder Chadha thought of Googlebox's Malone family while making new ITV period drama "Beecham House" to decide which parts of the series to ditch or keep in.

The "Bend it Like Beckham" director uses the Channel 4 show - in which families critique TV shows from their living rooms - as her "audience research" tool, so she kept imagining how Tom, Julie, Shaun and Tom Jr might react to certain scenes while working on her new series, which is set in Delhi, India at the end of the 18th century.

Speaking to BANG Showbiz and other media, she said: "Whatever I make I always have an audience in my mind that I'm making it for, because that helps me focus on the politics and the drama and everything.

"For me, that family I had in mind was the Malones from "Gogglebox".

"I like "Gogglebox", it's one of my favourite programmes, because that's my audience research.

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"But the Malones were who I kept coming back to every time I directed something or every time I cut it.

"I kept saying, "What will the Malones be thinking?" That was the transition."

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The show - which has been described as an Indian-style "Downton Abbey" - features Tom Bateman as Englishman John Beecham who lives in a magnificent mansion, Beecham House, in the Indian city.

He aims to be an honorable trader after resigning from military service when he was left appalled by the exploitation carried out by the British East India Company - and Gurdiner is pleased to give a different take on the Indian-British relations during the time period.

She added: "I think we're at a time where people want something fresh about the story between India and Britain.

"We want it fresh as Indians, as well as British, as well as everybody.

"This is a story about what happens in international commerce when cultures come together and meet.

"It's just from a different perspective.

"Most people have a particular idea - India was colonised, and then there was the Empire, and then there was Partition - but people don't generally know how that relationship started and how India became part of the Empire. What really fascinated me was that it really was a battle between the British and the French. India was up for grabs.

"Polly [Hill, head of drama at ITV] told me, "We want to make what you want to make. I don't want you make what you think I want you to make.

"Unless you own it it won't work. That was fantastic to hear for me.

"I'm always trying to duck and dive to say what I want to say.

"In return, it was very important that it is a success as a Sunday night ITV drama. That is absolutely what I set out to make."

The series also stars Marc Warren, Lesley Nicol, Adil Ray, Daokta Blue Richards and Pallavi Sharda.

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