Thursday, 18 November 2010


1963 - When the GP of a small Welsh mining village dies, his replacement isn't quite what the locals expect: Dr Prem Sharma arrives from Delhi with his glamorous wife Kamini, under a NHS recruitment programme of highly-qualified Indian doctors. But surprise is on both sides because Kamini isn't happy about the situation, as she rather wished for the bright lights of London.

The Indian Doctor is a five-part daytime drama aired all this week on BBC One to mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Swinging Sixties (with Rewind The Sixties, presented by singer Lulu). It is created by Tom Ware and Deep Sehgal, written by Bill Armstrong and directed by Tim Whitby and Deep Sehgal. It stars the talented Sanjeev Bhaskar (Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No. 42) as Prem.

South Wales in 1963. Trefelin, a mining village, loses its local doctor but gets a replacement thanks to a massive recruitment campaign of Indian doctors encouraged by health minister Enoch Powell. The villagers are completely ignorant about Indians and are briefed through an information film and "valuable cultural insight" from the screening of The Millionairess (1960), with Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers!

High-flying Dehli graduate Prem Sharma, the new GP, sees his enthusiasm watered down by his regal wife Kamini (« What do you expect me to do? Cook? »), who had other ambitions and urges him to leave the place quickly after their arrival. Kamini Sharma is played brilliantly by Ayesha Dharker (Outsourced, Coronation Street). Other cast members include Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise) as Richard Sharpe, the Coal Board's local manager with an hidden diary problem.

« Though the story does involve race, I don't think it's about racism. It's more about curiosity and preconceptions, » explains Sanjeev Bhaskar. The Indian Doctor is a wonderful, intelligent and subtle rural comedy-drama in the mold of Doc Martin. Far from the hype of high-profile big signature primetime projects with stunt castings, it is the pleasant surprise of this end of the year. And another treasure in Bhaskar's resume after that unsung gem which is Mumbai Calling (2007).

The Indian Doctor is a Rondo and Avatar production for the BBC. Tom Ware and Deep Sehgal exec produce, Gerard Melling is executive producer for the Beeb and Cliff Jones is the producer. The 5 X 45-minute series is filmed in Wales with the support of the Wales Creative IP Fund and the Welsh Assembly Government.

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1 comment:

Marmidotte said...

Apart from the fact that the wife has the name of a French singer... :P Well, I think I may give it a go. Seems like it could be fun / interesting / ...