“When the public is crying out for more diversity on TV, is this really the best you can do?”
A new British TV drama titled The Singapore Grip was filmed in Malaysia and features a majority white cast.
Based on JG Farrell’s 1978 novel of the same name, the series was adapted by scar-winning screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton for ITV. Hampton’s credits include Atonement and Dangerous Liaisons.
The six-part series stars Luke Treadaway, Charles Dance, David Morrissey, Colm Meaney and Elizabeth Tan.
The Singapore Grip focuses on a British colonial family living in Singapore following the Second World War.
“I was delighted to be invited to adapt The Singapore Grip, a panoramic account of the disastrous loss of Singapore to the Japanese invaders in 1942,” Hampton said.
“Matthew Webb, our bespectacled protagonist, an idealistic innocent abroad, lands in the middle of all this, to find himself fiercely pursued by two beautiful women – an English heiress and a Chinese adventurer – and his story, with its tumultuous backdrop, is told in a style with echoes of Tolstoy and Evelyn Waugh, but still, unmistakably, the unique voice of Jim Farrell.”
The series has since drawn criticism for not being filmed in Singapore and not featuring any Singaporean actors.
“It’s set in Singapore you say? Where are the Singaporeans then?” One Twitter user questioned.
“Let’s hope they dont romantisize colonization,” another pleaded.
“Crazily Underrepresented Asians (The Malays, Indians that is also part of Singapore) Having a lady in a cheongsam does not represent Singapore!” Said another.
“When the public is crying out for more diversity on TV, is this really the best you can do?” wrote another.
An epic new drama following the lives of a British family during the Japanese invasion of Singapore.
— ITV (@ITV) September 2, 2020