James Fleet, Rachel Griffiths and Art Malik join series two of Indian Summers

Sugandha Garg, Arjun Mathur and Blake Ritson are also cast in the second run of the hit Channel 4 series, which promises plenty more drama

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As well as bundles more political intrigue, adultery and murder, the second series of Channel 4’s hit drama Indian Summers promises an influx of new characters to get to know.

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James Fleet (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Hollow Crown) joins as Lord Hawthorne, whose surprise arrival heralds change at the highest level of administration. 

Cynthia (Julie Walters) plays host to an important royal guest at the Royal Simla Club, bringing in Art Malik (The Jewel in the Crown, True Lies) as the Maharaja Maritpur. And he’s not alone, with Brothers & Sisters star Rachel Griffiths portraying Sirene, his mysterious Australian mistress who has a surprising past. 

Aafrin (Nikesh Patel) is caught up in the escalating independence campaign. His story brings My Name Is Khan stars Sugandha Garg and Arjun Mathur (Fireflies) into the mix as Kaira and Naresh, the former passionate and beautiful, the latter unpredictable and volatile.  

Meanwhile, Blake Ritson (Da Vinci’s Demons, Upstairs Downstairs) joins as Charlie Havistock – the abusive and, until now, estranged husband of Alice (Jemima West). 

Of course, there are plenty of returning favourites too, chief among them Julie Walters who says, “I can’t wait to get back to the old girl! There’s some fantastic stuff to come in this series and Cynthia’s naughtiness goes up several notches.”

Happy Valley’s Rick Warden, Game of Thrones’ Patrick Malahide and Harry Potter star Henry Lloyd-Hughes are also among the cast returning for this second instalment. 

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The action picks up in the summer of 1935, with revolution hanging heavy in the air. Filming is underway now with the series returning to Channel 4 in early 2016.