TV travelogues are our only window onto the outside world at the moment, so we’re looking forward to ITV’s latest offering, Absolutely India: Mancs in Mumbai.
The new series sends Ryan, Adam and Scott Thomas to India alongside their dad, to explore their heritage and trace branches of their family tree. Along the way they visit incredible places and meet the people who make the country so warm and bright.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new series.
Who are the Thomas Brothers?
Between them, the three Thomas brothers have starred in some of ITV’s biggest shows. You’ll recognise Ryan from Coronation Street – he played Eileen’s son, Jason Grimshaw from 2000-2016. In 2018 he appeared in Neighbours as Rafael Humphreys, and in the same year he won the final ever series of Celebrity Big Brother. He has a daughter with former Corrie co-star Tina O’Brien and is now in a relationship with Lucy Mecklenburgh.
Ryan’s younger brothers are twins. Adam is also an actor, who got his break playing Donte in Waterloo Road before appearing as Adam Barton on Emmerdale from 2009-2018. He came third on I’m A Celebrity… in 2016 and hosted ITV2 spin-off show Extra Camp last year. Scott appeared on series two of Love Island, where he came third.
The brothers travelled with their dad, Dougie, who was absent for part of their upbringing. They explore their difficult relationship with him throughout the series. Ryan admits: “We got to ask my dad some awkward questions that we would probably never have got around to asking back home. It felt good and we got so many positives from it.”
Where are they going and what are they doing?
The boys and their dad jetted to Mumbai on India’s west coast long before lockdown began.
Their first stop is the Gol Deval Spice Market, close to the CST main train station, where they eat spicy street food, including one dish that is literally on fire!
In their mission to explore their heritage they then visit their Grandad’s old school, Christ Church High School in the Byculla area of Mumbai as well as looking round the Mazagoan neighbourhood in which he grew up.
There’s time for all sorts of interesting new experiences, from getting their ears cleaned on a street corner near CST station to attending a Bollywood class in Dharavi, meditating in the world’s largest Buddhist meditation hall, the Vipassana Pagoda in North West Mumbai and allowing a hairdresser to give them a trim using fire in Chembur!
Other activities included a hockey match against a junior girls’ team in Bandra West and a taste of Mallakhamb (a unique Indian mix of gymnastics and yoga done at the top of a pole!) in Nana Nani Park in the Dadar West area, where they also played street cricket with local kids.
There is also the opportunity to explore beyond Mumbai – the boys travelled 200km east to Jejuri on India’s iconic rail network where they took part in a religious ceremony in which they were covered from head to toe in turmeric. They also enjoy a trip to Goa to meet family, try out yoga and visit Patnem beach.
When will the show be on TV?
The good news is there’s not long to wait until we can watch the brothers’ adventure. The six-part series will air on Wednesdays on ITV, starting this week.
What do the brothers say about the trip?
Adam called the trip an ’emotional rollercoaster’. ‘One minute you’ll be laughing, the next you’ll be crying,’ he says. ‘India was always a special place that I wanted to visit, but never in a million years did I think I’d be able to go there with brothers and especially my dad. To then have the opportunity to visit the places we did and meet the people we met, it was something very special, a trip of a lifetime.’
Ryan says it was a humbling experience. ‘We got the chance to go to visit the area where they filmed Slumdog Millionaire to visit a drama school. We got to interact with the kids and that was a particularly humbling experience. To have the chance to take our father back to his father’s birthplace was quite an experience and we had a mixed bag of emotions throughout the whole trip. It was exciting, emotional and an amazing experience for all of us.’
Scott said the trip far surpassed his expectations. ‘The best part was spending quality time with my brothers and dad, it was a very personal journey. But there are so many points to this series that I think it can appeal to many different people. It’s partly a travelogue, which showcases areas of India and the culture there, but with the family connection hopefully we bring something uniquely different. Plus I got a haircut I’ll definitely always remember!’
Absolutely India: Mancs in Mumbai airs tonight at 8pm on ITV. To see what else is on, check out our TV Guide.