Julie Walters is to star in Indian Summers, a new 10-part drama on Channel 4 about the last days of British colonial rule, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
The actress, known for a range of roles including the lead in the 1983 film Educating Rita and for the part of Ron Weasley’s kindly mother Molly in the Harry Potter film franchise, will play widow Cynthia in the 1932-set drama.
Cynthia is the leading light of an expat society in northern India facing the end of Empire and the birth of an independent nation in the drama which will air next year.
Set against the "sweeping grandeur of the Himalayas and tea plantations of Northern India", the drama will tell the story from the point of view of both the Western colonial characters as well as the native Indians, according to Channel 4.
The broadcaster said in a statement: “At the heart of the story lie the implications and ramifications of the tangled web of passions, rivalries and clashes that define the lives of those brought together in this summer which will change everything.”
Also joining the cast is Craig Parkinson. Last seen as the villainous Matt “Dot” Cottan in BBC2 hit Line of Duty Parkinson's Indian Summers character Douglas appears likely to be more appealing - he runs a missionary school.
Walters’ fellow Harry Potter actor Henry Lloyd-Hughes will play Ralph Whelan a “coolly ambitious” 30-year-old who is Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India. Lloyd-Hughes played the handsome Quidditch captain Roger Davies in the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
The Borgias actress Jemima West plays his sister Alice who finds herself drawn to Aafrin (Nikesh Patel), a Junior Clerk in the Viceroy’s office and son to Roshana (played by Bollywood actress Lillete Dubey) and the gentle Darius (Roshan Seth), a veteran of The Great War.
Another star is the actor behind Mr Selfridge’s Sam, Alexander Cobb, who plays Ian McLeod a young and naïve Scottish tea plantation heir.
Filming will take place this summer with the series due to be broadcast on Channel 4 in 2015.
The series will premiere with a 90-minute episode with the following nine episodes running to 60 minutes.
A co-production with US network PBS, the series has been created and written by Paul Rutman, the writer of ITV’s Brenda Blethyn detective drama Vera and the producer of the acclaimed 2007 BBC drama Five Days.