April 28 2016
It was confirmed on Monday that the colonial period drama would not be getting a third series and there was consternation among some…
CREATOR and lead writer of TV drama “Indian Summers” Paul Rutman, has told www.asianculturevulture.com that the end of Series 2 might not mean the end of the prime-time Sunday evening drama which has its legion of fans.
While he is philosophical about its chances of returning to Channel 4, where it currently airs and is nearing its ten-part Season 2 run, he said there remains hope that the next series may still find a different broadcaster.
Earlier this week, Channel 4 confirmed it was not commissioning series 3 but declined to offer any further explanation as to its reasons for axing the drama, which is set in Simla, during the time of the British Raj India in the early 20th century, and features stars Julie Walters, Art Malik and Australian Rachel Griffiths.
The channel said it was proud of the drama – the most expensive ever produced by the outlet and estimated to have cost £14m for the first series.
Rutman told www.asianculturevulture.com: “We’re all heartbroken but we are looking at other potential broadcasters such Netflix and Amazon.
“The actors have been amazing and supportive. They remain committed.”
Most commentators think the programme has been beset by poor or falling ratings – at its peak, it’s thought the drama attracted five million viewers last year, but by this season, some reckoned it was only pulling in a million.
“There’s a lot of rubbish talked about the ratings,” Rutman countered. “The fact is it is up in a tough and very competitive slot and the ratings have been going up over the last three to four weeks.
“It started around 1.2 million and the last audience was about 1.75 million with catch up and on demand. It’s really not that bad for a period drama.”
Many commentators felt that it was Channel 4’s bid to emulate the success of ITV’s “Downton Abbey”, another period piece that was a global and critical success – but Rutman said there were significant differences and its success needed to be judged differently.
“’Downton Abbey‘ is in a very safe place – it’s not challenging.
“’Indian Summers‘ was always going to be more edgy, risky and that’s why we took it to Channel 4 in the first place,” Rutman argued.
He also said there were plans only to make four series, not five, as has been widely reported previously.
“The idea was to take it up to Partition; there is a lot of closure at the end but some things have been left open,” he explained.
Next year is the 70th anniversary of India’s independence from Britain and many are already planning events to commemorate one of the most important periods of change for both nations.
The first series was also shown in the US and appeared to enjoy a popular following there – not least for its attractive cast, seductive locations and lush cinematography.
Many here reacted with disappointment and frustration to the news that the series was being axed.
We should know – since about the middle of the last series and from the very beginning of this one, we have been live tweeting, and commenting in real time, as every twist and turn revealed itself first to avid viewers.
A small army of tweeters has emerged and remain engaged and deeply committed to the programme – which is really like nothing else on British TV at present.
Actor Rick Warden, who plays Ronnie Keane in the drama, voiced his frustration.
Writer Nikesh Shukla, a champion of diversity, expressed his disappointment.
And many of those who follow it, must have felt like this viewer who commented on our FACEBOOK page
Picture: Scene from episode 8 Indian Summers featuring Ian (Alexander Cobb) and Sooni (Aysha Kala) and Paul Rutman
Inset pic above: Series Launch (L-R): Aysha Kala (Sooni), Nikesh Patel (Aafrin), Paul Rutman, Henry Llloyd Hughes (Ralph) and moderator Emma Cox
‘Indian Summers‘ continues every Sunday on Channel 4, 9pm until May 15 (UK only).
Catch-up (UK only)