July 20, 2020
It has 110 actors, is based on one of the longest books in English – and it’s the BBC’s first historical drama with no white characters. But some think the series doesn’t go far enough. We take a look behind the scenes
‘This is an Indian story,” says Tanya Maniktala, “so it’s about time it was told by us.” The 22-year-old actor is speaking by video call from Delhi about playing the lead in a groundbreaking BBC adaptation of Vikram Seth’s novel A Suitable Boy.
The six-part series is the first time the BBC has had a historical drama cast entirely with people of colour, and the first time that Seth’s 1993 novel – one of the longest in the English language – has been adapted for the screen. “It’s a landmark,” says BBC commissioning editor Mona Qureshi. “With a novel like this, where there aren’t characters who are white, it makes sense to have an all south Asian cast. It has been a long time coming.”