10 x 1 hr
It’s 1935 and Simla prepares once again for the annual arrival of the Indian Civil Service for the summer season. Although it’s seemingly business as usual for the British administration, a lot has changed for our characters in the three years since we last spent the summer with them in the foothills of the Himalayas. For Ralph Whelan, this year is the most pivotal of his career. The Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, is in his final few months in the role and Ralph has long been tipped for the top job. But the summer gets off to a bumpy start when the violent arm of Congress launches a surprise attack on Willingdon and he is taken ill. Ralph quickly realises that his journey to become the next Viceroy will be very tricky. A visiting aristocrat from London, Lord Hawthorne, makes it very clear that Ralph’s best chance at success is to sell the notoriously troublesome Government of India Act to the different factions in India – an almost impossible task. The biggest hurdle for Ralph is currying favour with the powerful and slippery Maharajah of Amritpur who arrives in Simla with his mistress Sirene, a sexually liberated woman who is no stranger to this hill station. Their stay in Simla will cast a dark shadow on Ralph and Madeleine’s marriage.
Away from work, Ralph’s personal life is causing him even more concern. As he struggles to finance his career progression, deal with the arrival of his illegitimate son as a new houseboy at Chotipool, prevent the truth of the awful murder in 1932 from being revealed and cope with a shocking revelation about his true parentage, it looks ever more likely that this summer could break Ralph…
His sister Alice is also having a difficult time. Her husband, Charlie, has followed her to India and despite his charming persona, it is very clear that he has not forgiven Alice for her departure three years previously. As the summer progresses Charlie becomes an increasingly dark presence at Chotipool and his worsening campaign of hatred against his wife sends her running into the arms of her true love Aafrin Dalal. By summer’s end, Alice faces a dilemma that will change several lives forever.
Also back in Simla for the summer are the rest of the Dalal family but they are no longer in the Bazaar, having now settled at Ivy Cottage and enjoying the new found status that their son’s ascending career affords them. Despite their change of fortunes, this will not be an easy summer for the family. Aafrin is even more deeply involved with the violent wing of the Congress Party, as his militant nationalist comrade Naresh Banerjee puts together a bomb plot to strike at the heart of British rule.His sister Sooni, now graduated as a lawyer, can no longer put off her mother’s demands for marriage. But as Roshana is busy matchmaking to find a good Parsi boy, Sooni finds two suitors of her own – the arriviste Muslim journalist Mr. Khan and the idealistic Ian McLeod.
While the Dalals adjust to life in Sarah and Dougie’s old home, the missionary and his wife have been less fortunate in the intervening years. With money thin on the ground, the Raworths have moved into the Mission School, but despite their changed fortune we join their marriage in happier times and Sarah is heavily pregnant. However, as she prepares to return to England to give birth, she does not realise that she is leaving her husband in terrible danger.
Leena returns to Simla, destitute, but just as she starts getting her life back on track she is attacked, putting in motion a chain of events that reaches out into every corner of Simla society.
And throughout this, life in Simla continues, as fun and debauched as ever. Cynthia still reigns supreme as the society queen, but even she cannot deny that it is becoming ever more apparent that British rule is fading in the sub-continent.
"Sumptuous period drama turns to edge-of-the-seat political thriller"
Indian Summers - Series 1
New Pictures for Channel 4, UK and Masterpiece, USA
Julie Walters (Educating Rita, Harry Potter), Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Gemma Bovary, Weekender), Nikesh Patel (London Has Fallen), Jemima West (Endeavour), Olivia Grant, Aysha Kala, Fiona Glascott, Craig Parkinson, Rick Warden, Lillete Dubey, Alexander Cobb, Patrick Malahide, Roshan Seth
Executive Producers: Charlie Pattinson and Elaine Pyke
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