The Jewel in the Crown

I recently rewatched this mini-series, which first aired 30 years ago, and was surprised not only at how good it was but at how modern it still seemed.  The subject is the last 5 years of the British Raj in India,  Most of the story lines concerns the English community there.  Many have been born in India or spent much of their lives there, and now have to face return to a country they may know little about.  The show handles some tough topics along the way: interracial romance in a racist community, abortion, anti-Semitism, homosexuality, and appalling social snobbery.  Like most TV productions of the 1980s, much of the violence occurs off-screen, but is no less effective for that.

The bloody denouement of partition eventually intrudes even on the entitled bubble of English society, affecting characters we have grown to understand and care about.  The last episode, in particular, will stay with you for a long time.

The acting is outstanding throughout, and even the minor characters are complex and interesting.

GOT Watch:  A very young Charles Dance has an important role in the later episodes, smooth of skin and tight of buns, but already sporting the deep-set eyes and prominent nose of Tywin Lannister.

Available on DVD

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