Length: 800 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 24 August 2009
Cat No: 3711532033
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The Jewel in the Crown: The Complete Series
Cast: Charles Dance , Peggy Ashcroft , Rachel Kempson , Susan Wooldridge , Rosemary Leach , Art Malik , Judy Parfitt , Saeed Jaffrey , Tim Pigott-Smith , Zia Mohyeddin , Eric Porter , Geraldine James , Wendy Morgan , Nicholas Farrell , Peter Jeffrey , Frederick Treves , Anna Cropper
Granada TV’s dramatisation of Paul Scott’s novels about the last days of the British Raj in India. In ’Crossing the River’ Daphne... Read More
To mark the 21st anniversary of the broadcast of the multi-award winning series, this collector’s edition has been digitally remastered and includes tempting extra features, amongst which are exclusive commentaries with Geraldine James, Art Malik, Tim Pigott-Smith and a documentary interview with a colonial historian. Looked at today, Jewel in the Crown boasts a truly stellar cast, including Charles Dance, Geraldine James, Art Malik , Tim Pigott Smith, Peggy Ashcroft and Warren Clarke. Based on Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet, four novels published between 1966 and 1975, the series addresses the issues that surround the final years of the British in India. Set against a backdrop of World War II and using the rape of an English woman as its dramatic centre, Jewel focuses on a moment of crisis and change in British national history.
In March 1983, Richard Attenborough's Gandhi romped home at the Oscars. A year later, ITV broadcast The Jewel in the Crown, the longest and most complex of the mid-1980s flurry of films and programmes exploring the British Raj – and also the most fondly remembered, not least for establishing Art Malik and Charles Dance as national heart-throbs.
Seamlessly streamlined from the 2,000-plus pages of Paul Scott's Raj Quartet, and set in the final half-decade of British rule in India (1942-47), its fourteen episodes conveyed the historical and political background through the shifting relationships of a relatively small number of people.
Hari Kumar (Malik), a British-educated Indian, and Ronald Merrick (Tim Pigott-Smith), a grammar school-educated policeman, are both fish out of water - Hari culturally, Merrick socially. Both take a shine to Daphne Manners (Susan Wooldridge), an Englishwoman whose idealised view of the Raj is graphically overturned when she is raped by an Indian in an unmistakably symbolic fashion.
This event, and Daphne's subsequent death in childbirth, has repercussions that echo down successive years, not least when Sarah Layton (Geraldine James) tries to find out what happened and also becomes involved with Merrick.
Meanwhile, the dottily eccentric missionary Barbie Batchelor (Peggy Ashcroft) undergoes a loss of faith which represents the general failure of Christianity to come to terms with India's very different spiritual traditions, while dashing British Army sergeant Guy Perron (Dance) turns up near the end to oversee the end of British rule.
Shot with the production values of a feature film but at a length allowing far greater attention to detail, The Jewel in the Crown now embodies a double nostalgia: both for the Raj itself, and for the days when ITV still produced ambitious and challenging drama series.