26 July 2020 22:31
I do have some sympathy for the gatekeepers of what we watch or stream on our phones and TVs. Especially those who commissioned big flagship drama series before the Black Lives Matter movement took centre stage and the power it generated led many to ask deeper and wider questions about representation across society and in culture or, more pertinently, the lack of it. In years gone by there would have been almost universal praise for the BBC's commissioning and scheduling of a historical drama, based entirely in India, with an all-Asian cast adapting Vikram Seth's leviathan of a novel A Suitable Boy, which starts on BBC One this Sunday. Asians would have run into the living room, shouting upstairs to the other members of the family to quickly come and gather around the TV to watch people who looked like them onscreen. I immediately tweeted after watching the first episode: "Conflicted about A Suitable Boy six-part drama on the BBC. For Hayley it was just too boring ("I can't make myself care about women from the past struggling to find a husband") and then finished by saying, "There's no plot more boring to me than 'My sister's married and I'm not,'" and it left Scott asking, "whether it's giving to British viewers a stereotypical interpretation of what we want that period of history to be rather than an actual reflection of what it is".
Not a British Asian writer such as the award-winning Tanika Gupta MBE, who had previously worked on adapting it for Channel 4, but Andrew Davies, the man known for adapting Pride And Prejudice and War & Peace for the small screen. In a perfect world this wouldn't be so much of an issue, as there would be a rich diversity of stories emanating from the minds of South Asian writers. But we don't live in a perfect world and as the author and scriptwriter Nikesh Shukla told me: if South Asian writers find it really difficult to get mainstream writing work and then don't even get a look in when it comes to South Asian stories, what options do they have left? He went on to ask: "In order for a TV producer to be interested in a South Asian scriptwriter does he or she have to be writing about arranged marriages or terrorists?" All of that being said, A Suitable Boy is beautifully directed by Mira Nair – it has been a real passion project for her ever since the book was first released and the lead actor, the previously unknown Tanya Maniktala, is great. This is a problem because there is so little representation of British Asians onscreen that to have another costume drama featuring sandals and saris, arranged marriages and Hindu/Muslim friction seems reductive and clichéd.
While some of these novels don't exactly carry their charm over to the digital world, the BBC's adaptation of Vikram Seth's best selling novel is set to be a real winner. Here's how to watch A Suitable Boy online - no matter where you are in the world. While you will need a UK TV license to watch A Suitable Boy online or on TV, those currently outside of the country can use a VPN to stream like they're home. One of the longest novels ever published in the English language, A Suitable Boy details the lives of four Indian families living in post-British occupation India dealing with arrange marriages, racial castes and the melting pot of identities and beliefs in one vast country. When you watch A Suitable Boy online, you will likely see the focus fall on Lata Mehra - the protagonist of the book and now TV show - as she contends with her arranged marriage, other love interests and the strict approval of her family.
The great news for Brits looking to watch A Suitable Boy online is that it has been made easy for you, with the entire show airing through the BBC. We've listed everything you need to know about how to stream A Suitable Boy in the UK and abroad below including dates, times, channels and more. How to watch A Suitable Boy on the BBC in the UK You can watch A Suitable Boy on BBC One live on TV. If you're living abroad or away on holiday, using a VPN can allow you to tune into a UK server and watch like you're home. How to watch A Suitable Boy on the BBC from abroad If you're currently living in the UK then watching A Suitable Boy is simple. Then, you can easily, sit back and indulge in a binge watching session of the TV adaptation of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. You're watching A Suitable Boy from back home in the UK. Starring some of the most notable names in Bollywood, the BBC's A Suitable Boy follows the story of an ambitious university student, who defies her mother's plans to find her the perfect husband. In a first for the BBC, the series was filmed entirely on location in India, the Evening Standard reports. Production on the six-part drama took place in several locations across the country, including Lucknow and Maheshwar, and Executive Producer, Faith Penhale, recently discussed the significance of A Suitable Boy's filming spots. So we're thrilled to be able to celebrate this wonderful country on the international stage by working with an incredibly talented ensemble of Indian actors and by shooting everything on location," she explained. The series is adapted from Vikram Seth's classic novel of the same name, and centres around university student Lata in North India in 1951. Set against the backdrop of the country's newfound independence, the story also revolves around the fortunes of four large families, exploring India's rich culture during a pivotal moment in the nation's history. The cast of A Suitable Boy is fronted by newcomer Tanya Maniktala as Lata, Bollywood icon Ishaan Khatter as the hedonistic Maan, the Life of Pi's Tabu, and more, the Radio Times reports. Author Seth, who penned the original novel, previously commented on the show's all-Indian cast, revealing his confidence the actors will bring his characters "brilliantly to life." "We all passionately believed that the series should be filmed in India with an Indian cast, and we have got great locations and wonderful actors. A Suitable Boy begins on Sunday, July 26 at 9 p.m. on BBC One. Even as actress Tanya Maniktala signed the contract for A Suitable Boy, she still could not believe she had bagged the role of Lata Mehra. Based on the classic novel of the same name by Vikram Seth, the vibrant new series – which is reportedly the BBC's first historical drama with no white characters – is set in India in 1951, when the country is on a journey towards its first national democratic election. "I get goosebumps now when I remember showing up for the audition and how it was for A Suitable Boy and the role of Lata." Lata is a 19-year-old university student who, thanks to old traditions and an overbearing mother who wants to find her a suitable husband, seems to have her life already mapped out. "Saeeda is completely overwhelmed at the fact that this young boy, from a respectable, political family, is madly in love with her because she knows too much about life and the world," explains 49-year-old Tabu, who was born in Hyderabad. A Suitable Boy, BBC 1, tonight, 9pm