Calling fans of Sandition and Les Misérables: BBC One has just dropped the atmospheric first trailer for A Suitable Boy, the next big-budget series from Andrew Davies, launching Sunday 26th July at 9pm.
Intriguingly, the new show is vastly different from the writer’s previous works (which also include Pride and Prejudice and War & Peace). Rather than focusing on a European story, the new six-part drama tells the tale of spirited university student Lata in India circa 1951 as the country accustoms to its newfound independence.
As the country attempts to find its own identity, so does Lata (newcomer Tanya Maniktala), who rejects her mother’s attempts to find her “a suitable boy” to marry.
The series also follows Maan (connected to Lata through their siblings’ marriage), a young man played by Bollywood star Ishaan Khatter, who suffers a fraught relationship with his politician father while becoming obsessed with the beautiful courtesan Saaeda Bai.
And in case that doesn’t sound complex enough, the BBC says the show will be a “panoramic tale charting the fortunes of four large families and exploring India and its rich and varied culture at a crucial point in its history.”
If it seems like a sprawling series, you can blame the source material: at 591,552 words, A Suitable Boy – penned by Indian author Vikram Seth – is one of the largest novels ever to be published in the English language.
However, as Davies proved with his critically acclaimed adaptation of War & Peace (587,287 words in the original book), it is possible to condense a heavy novel into a six-part BBC drama.
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Speaking previously about the new project, Davies said: “I am truly thrilled to be chosen by Vikram Seth to adapt his masterpiece A Suitable Boy for the screen. It’s a charming, almost Austenesque story, with a delightfully relatable heroine, set against the turbulent background of India in the years following Partition.
“It has been a total joy to work on, and I hope that audiences will love it as much as I do.”
With filming only beginning at the end of summer 2019, A Suitable Boy’s early July launch date is much earlier than expected, many previously predicting the series would air at the end of 2020.
A Suitable Boy starts Sunday 26th July at 9pm. You can see what else is on with our TV Guide.