Luke Treadaway and David Morrissey are set to star in The Singapore Grip, an “epic and ambitious” TV adaptation of Booker Prize winner J.G. Farrell’s 1978 novel.
The drama focuses on a British family living in Singapore during World War Two, at the time of the Japanese invasion.
The series is executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer, the man behind series such as Poldark, Victoria and Endeavour.
Here’s everything you need to know…
When is The Singapore Grip on TV?
The series began filming in South East Asia in March 2019. ITV has yet to announce an air date – watch this space!
What is The Singapore Grip about?
J.G. Farrell’s The Singapore Grip was published in 1978, a year before his death aged 44. The satirical novel centres on a British family who control one of the colony’s leading trading companies, following their story in the aftermath of Japan’s entry into the Second World War and the occupation of Singapore.
Oscar-winning screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton (of Atonement and Dangerous Liaisons fame) has adapted the novel into a six-part series starring Luke Treadaway, David Morrissey and Charles Dance.
Treadaway plays the “reluctant hero and innocent abroad” Matthew Webb, while Morrissey stars as the “ruthless rubber merchant” Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore’s oldest and most powerful firm alongside his business partner Mr Webb (Dance).
According to ITV’s synopsis, “With Webb’s health failing, Walter needs to ensure the future of their firm is secure. He decides Webb’s son Matthew is the perfect match for his spoilt daughter Joan (Georgia Blizzard). Matthew’s idealism leaves Walter increasingly suspicious as Matthew himself falls under the spell of Vera Chiang (Elizabeth Tan), a mysterious Chinese refugee.”
Screenwriter Christopher Hampton said: “As a great admirer and, eventually, a friend of J.G.Farrell, I was delighted to be invited to adapt The Singapore Grip, a panoramic account of the disastrous loss of Singapore to the Japanese invaders in 1942.
“Close analysis of this great novel has only deepened my enthusiasm for the skill with which Farrell has combined the private story of the machinations, commercial and amorous, of the Blackett family and their struggle – described with Farrell’s trademark subversive wit – to preserve and expand their prosperous rubber business with the unfolding of the cataclysmic events to which they remain totally oblivious until it’s too late.
“Matthew Webb, our bespectacled protagonist, an idealistic innocent abroad, lands in the middle of all this, to find himself fiercely pursued by two beautiful women – an English heiress and a Chinese adventurer – and his story, with its tumultuous backdrop, is told in a style with echoes of Tolstoy and Evelyn Waugh, but still, unmistakably, the unique voice of Jim Farrell.”
Who will star in The Singapore Grip?
Olivier Award-winning actor Luke Treadaway has starred in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Ordeal by Innocence, and Traitors. He is set to play Matthew Webb.
Best known for roles in The Missing, Britannia, and The Walking Dead, David Morrissey will star as Walter Blackett.
Charle Dance, who starred as Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones, will play Mr Webb.
Also joining the cast are Little Voice and Ab Fab star Jane Horrocks (as Sylvia Blackett), In the Flesh actor Luke Newberry, Star Trek actor Colm Meaney, as well as Peep Show’s Bart Edwards, and the actor Christoph Guybert.
Georgia Blizzard plays the role of Joan, while Corrie star Elizabeth Tan plays Vera.