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Beecham House Series Premiere Sun 23 June on ITV



Tom Bateman, Lesley Nicol, Gregory Fitoussi, Adil Ray, Marc Warren, Pallavi Sharda, Dakota Blue Richards, Viveik Kalra, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Leo Suter and Bessie Carter star in ITV’s epic new drama Beecham House, from award winning production company, Bend It TV.

Beecham House was co-created, written and directed by one of the UK’s most respected filmmakers, Gurinder Chadha OBE.

Set on the cusp of the 19th century in Delhi before the British ruled in that region, the drama depicts the fortunes of the residents of Beecham House, an imposing mansion surrounded by acres of exotic woods and pristine lawns.

Tom Bateman (Vanity Fair, Jekyll and Hyde) takes the role of enigmatic, soulful John Beecham, a handsome former soldier who has purchased the magnificent mansion, Beecham House, to begin a new life with his family.

Wealthy and distinguished, John has witnessed profiteering and exploitation during his time with the controlling East India Company and has resolved to conduct his business as a trader in a more equitable manner. Determined to escape his previous life, John appears haunted by his past, but is inspired to become an honourable member of the region’s trading community.

In spite of John’s good intentions his life is shrouded in mystery and when he arrives at the house with a child named August and two Indian nursemaids, Chanchal (Shriya Pilgaonkar) and Maya (Trupti Khamkar), it causes speculation and gossip amongst the servants that he may be the boy’s father. One of the Indian nursemaids, the beautiful Chanchal, is overly protective and particularly fond of the child. Could she be John’s lover and the mother of August?

Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey) is John’s robust, interfering mother Henrietta who has travelled from England to India to stay with her son. She is accompanied by a young family friend Violet, played by Bessie Carter (Les Miserables) who she is determined to help form a union with John.

The pair are accompanied by an old friend of John’s, Samuel Parker, played by Marc Warren (Safe, Hustle) who has also left the East India Company and has returned to India for a fresh start. Samuel helps John to find his brother Daniel who he has not seen for 10 years. John convinces Daniel, Leo Suter, (Victoria) to leave the East India Company and join him at Beecham House.

Gregory Fitoussi (Mr Selfridge, Spiral) plays General Castillon, a French mercenary working for the Emperor at a time when the French are challenging the East India Company for India. Castillon is suspicious of John and his motives and conspires to stop John being granted a trading licence. Adil Ray (Citizen Khan, Ackley Bridge) is John’s neighbour Murad Beg who dislikes General Castillon intensely and agrees to help John secure a trading licence. Murad’s daughter, Roshanara, (Medha Shankar) has an English governess Margaret Osborne, played by Dakota Blue Richards (Endeavour) whose beauty and intelligence catches John’s attention.

However, when beautiful Chandrika (Pallavi Sharda) arrives at Beecham House with her entourage she is shown to luxurious guest quarters and immediately insists on seeing August. What secrets does Chandrika bring with her to Beecham House? Finally Laura Dutta plays Begum Samru, a real woman who existed in 18th century India and was the head of a professional trained mercenary army.

In the first episode: India 1795 and a lone carriage is driven through the wild countryside on the outskirts of Delhi. At the front of the carriage is John Beecham. His guards sit close by, with their guns at the ready, looking out for strangers and bandits. A grand mansion is being prepared for a new master. The household servants, Baadal and Mool Chand, wait in anticipation whilst Bindu, Mool Chand’s wife, says prayers to bless the house.

John takes up residence in the grand mansion on the outskirts of the city. The staff are shocked to discover that their secretive new master is not only English but has also arrived with his infant son August, a baby of mixed parentage.

An invitation arrives at the house from General Castillon, a French mercenary who works for the Emperor at The Red Fort. Baadal warns John that he is not a good man. Castillon clearly has a deep dislike for the British and the Company and is suspicious of John’s motives for being in Delhi. He is convinced that he is an agent for the Company. John informs Castillon that he has a new life as an independent trader and requests a licence to trade. Only the Emperor can give this licence. It’s clear Castillon will do all that he can to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Murad Beg, a neighbour, invites John to a party at his home. John soon catches the eye of the only English woman at the party. Margaret, a governess, is a rarity in that part of the world. The connection between them is immediate and undeniable.

John meets the Emperor and makes his request for a licence. Castillon disapproves of John and tells the Emperor. The Emperor decides to test John. Find the perfect gift for the Empress’s birthday and, if he succeeds, maybe John will be given a licence. With the country in turmoil and political tensions on a knife edge, displeasing the Emperor could prove fatal, and John must tread carefully if he is to secure his future and keep his family safe.

John travels to the docks to meet his mother Henrietta and is surprised to discover that she has travelled with a companion, Violet. It seems that coincidentally a close friend and former soldier Samuel Parker is on the same boat. Is it coincidence or was it planned? Henrietta, Violet and Margaret see baby August, John’s son. They are shocked – who is the mother? Life in Beecham House is about to become a whole lot more complicated.

John Beecham – TOM BATEMAN
Henrietta Beecham – LESLEY NICOL
Begum Samru – LARA DUTTA
Daniel Beecham – LEO SUTER
General Castillon – GRÉGORY FITOUSSI
Violet Woodhouse – BESSIE CARTER
Murad Beg – ADIL RAY
Emperor Shah Alam – ROSHAN SETH
Samuel Parker – MARC WARREN
Maharaja of Kalyan – DENZIL SMITH
August Beecham – SHONA and SIENNA OBEROI

Airdate: Sunday 23 June 2019 from 9.00pm-10.05pm on ITV.

Season 1, Episode 1