Period drama fails to entice viewers

Beecham House suffers from a British Raj hangover and a loosely-woven script

By Author  |  Published: 7th Aug 2019  9:55 pm
REVIEW

At first glance, Beecham House reminds you of those romantic books set in a colonial era, where the hero blessed with a chiseled body falls in love with the exotic Indian princess, has children with her and then everyone lives happily ever after. However, Gurinder Chaddha’s latest offering takes that story and throws in intrigue, royal coups and corrupt British officials into the mix.

The story of Beecham House is a tangle of plotlines. In the first episode, we are introduced to the dashing widower John Beecham (Tom Bateman) who arrives with a baby and attendants to a large palace in Delhi. The servants are all agog at the Englishman who is full of secrets, but has a kind demeanour towards them. It is mentioned many times that he was once working for the corrupt East India Company, but left unable to tolerate their inhumane way they treated the Indians. Beecham is now a trader, eager to export the treasures of India, but maintains, he is not going to pillage it like the Company.

 

His past is revealed in flashbacks, an unseen beautiful Indian woman he dreams about who birthed his son, August and whose name must not be revealed ever. Creating trouble for him on the sidelines is his mate Samuel (Marc Warren) who seems to have his own designs for a business in the country. There is also romance blossoming with the governess Miss Osbourne. The cinematography is gorgeous and actually makes up for the otherwise slow-moving pace of the series which is currently streaming on Netflix.