Tonight on ITV, we saw the premiere of Beecham House — a show that was all about bringing you a new perspective, while also still fitting the all-familiar mold for a British period drama. We are talking here about a period drama, but one that is set here in 18th-century India and is all about a clash of cultures, and also a man in John Beecham who is just trying to find his place.
John arrived in India after spending a significant amount of time within the business world, and it seems like he wants to be successful in Dehli within the world of trade. For most of the premiere, he tries to make himself feel at home there, including meeting some familiar faces about the community. One of them in Margaret (Dakota Blue Richards of Endeavour fame) seems to catch his eye. Some others are sources of conflict. Not everyone is altogether keen to even trust him, mostly due to the fact that he is an outsider who may be out to push forward British intentions as opposed to his other.
Then, there is John’s mother Henrietta, played by the always-entertaining Lesley Nicol of Downton Abbey fame. She arrived to his new home near the end of the episode and quickly was ready to judge anything and everything. She also brought with her old family friend Violet, who she seemed to be eager to sell as a viable contender to his heart, and also an old workmate of John’s in Samuel. He’s a man who was looking for some new work in Dehli, and John was eager to bring him on board as a “trustworthy partner,” someone to bring on board and work with.
Yet, there are still questions aplenty in regards to John’s love life. Does he have another love close to him already? Is one of his nursemaids in Chanchal the secret mother to his baby August? She has a way about her that raises some suspicions, and that could be a part of this series. Henrietta’s reaction to learning about August was priceless. It may also change her perception on her life.
Beecham House has all the makings of being a classic British drama series. Tom Bateman does a fantastic job as the still-enigmatic John, a man clearly eager to forget all about some of the dangerous wrinkles of his past. He wants to live more in the moment and embrace what life has in store for him at Beecham House with his family and those he cares about. Yet, the past has a certain way of catching up with you on shows like this.
There’s another issue that probably does not need to be addressed through the first season, and that is the status of all of the hierarchy in Dehli. Not all of the city is anything close to the mansion or some of the opulence that was there in the premiere. Maybe we’ll see more of this via the servants moving forward, but we’re not quite there just yet.
The premiere of Beecham House was well-acted, visually stunning, and worthy of viewing. We’ll see where things go from here, since we think there is going to be a combination of stories present here — whether it be business-related or tied in some ways to his personal life.
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What did you think about the Beecham House premiere episode? Be sure to share in the comments. (Photo: ITV.)