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Program Title
The Jewel in the Crown

Based On
Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet

Adapted By
Ken Taylor

Number of Episodes:

Paul Scott's epic four novels, known collectively as "The Raj Quartet", tell the extraordinary story of Daphne and Hari, of Ronald Merrick and Barbie Batchelor, the Layton family and Guy Perron, against the tumultuous background of the last years of British rule in India. It begins in 1942. The Japanese, having conquered Burma, are threatening to invade and Gandhi is calling on the British to 'Quit India'. In Mayapore, a young man, Hari Kumar, is arrested and, across the river that divides the city, Daphne Manners has arrived from England. It is the start of a chain of events binding English and Indians in a web of love, tragedy, and death. And at the center is Ronald Merrick, District Superintendent of Police, a guardian of the British Empire of which India is 'The Jewel in the Crown'.

Original broadcast date

Cast Characters
Tim Pigott-Smith Ronald Merrick
Susan Wooldridge Daphne Manners
Art Malik Hari kumar
Geraldine James Sarah Layton
Judy Parfitt Mildred Layton
Wendy Morgan Susan Layton
Nicholas Farrell Teddy Bingham
Fabia Drake Mabel Layton
Peggy Ashcroft Barbie Batchelor
Rachel Kempson Lady Manners
Saeed Jaffrey The Nawab
Eric Porter Dimitri Bronowsky
Rosemary Leach Aunt Fenny
Nicholas Le Prevost Nigel Rowan
Charles Dance Guy Perron
Zia Mohyeddin 'Mak' Kasim
Derrick Branche Ahmed Kasim
Frederick Treves Col. John Layton
Om Puri DeSouza
Jeremy Child Robin White
Rowena Cooper Mrs. White
Rashid Karapiet
Kamini Kaushal Aunt Shalini
Marne Maitland Pandit Baba
Janet Henfrey Edwina Crane
Dominic Jephcott
Paul Geoffrey
Sheila Grant
Anna Cropper Nicky Paynton
Mark Tandy
James Bree Colonel Grace
Angus Mackay
Antony Brown
Carol Gillies Clarissa Peplow
Bernard Horsfall Rankin
Geoffrey Beevers Captain Coley
Stuart Wilson Jimmy Clarke
Sarah Neville
Josephine Welcome
Simon Shepherd
Rosalie Williams
Ralph Arliss Captain Samuels
Shreela Ghosh Minnie
David Leland Purvis
Jamila Massey the Maharani
Peter Jeffrey. Mr. Peabody


Producer: Christopher Morahan
Director: Jim O'Brien, Christopher Morahan

THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN/Episode 1/Intro by Alistair Cooke

Good evening, I'm Alistair Cooke.

Tonight we begin a dramatization--in fourteen parts--of the late Paul Scott's four novels about the last few years of British rule in India. The novels came to be known as The Raj Quartet, and some people now think it constitutes a classic of Modern English Literature.

Now we'll have more to say about Paul Scott later on, but for the moment I'd like to sketch the quite unadventurous life of a man who was not given to self-promotion or mixing with literary cliques. This may have a lot to do with the sad fact that he was dead at fifty-seven, before most serious novel readers had even touched The Raj Quartet or knew that they'd lost a major novelist of the twentieth century. Paul Scott was born in London in 1920 of two commercial artists. He went to a private school of no great prestige, and then he went into training as an accountant (he wrote a little poetry on the side). Shortly after Hitler invaded Poland he was drafted, and in 1943 he was dispatched to India as a sergeant in the British Indian Army. For a time he couldn't bear India--he knew nothing about it; he'd not even read Kipling. Then he came down with hepatitis. And shortly after that he became an officer cadet in air (aviation) supply--a job which took him all over the subcontinent.

Now he never realized how much of an India addict he'd become until he got back to England in 1946, a year after the Second World War was over, when he went back into accounting. And for ten more years he was a literary agent boosting other people's reputations. He did write a few novels and radio plays that reached what we condescendingly call a small, discriminating public. Then in 1964 he went back to India on a visit and he began to write The Raj Quartet. It took eleven years to finish, and he was teaching at the University in Tulsa, Oklahoma when he fell ill, and he went back to England, where in 1978 he died of cancer.

What we're going to look at is a prolonged study of two class systems--the Indian, and the British--the British abroad. Raj meant rule and, The Rajiv meant every resident Briton in India, down from the Viceroy who was the King's representative, down through the Army, to the civil service, the top and the lower layers, down to merchants and insurance men and traders and the like, all of whom had very well understood relations between each other. Then India, the India, this huge subcontinent of one and a half million square miles, two long opposed religions, the Hindus and the Moslems, of princes who were secure in their independent kingdoms, of Indian officers of high rank, Indians who had been knighted, millions of untouchables, and millions more, of every degree of servitude.

I think the best introduction to this subtle and intertwined hierarchy is a passage that Paul Scott wrote at the very beginning of his first volume which was called The Jewel in the Crown, and which Granada Television has taken for the title of this whole dramatization. This is what Scott wrote:

This is the story of a rape, of the events that led up to it and followed it and the place in which it happened.... There was no trial in the judicial sense... but as time went on this rape became the core of a plot and a system that ended with the spectacle of two nations in violent opposition, not for the first time, nor as yet for the last, because they were then still locked in an imperial embrace of such long standing and subtlety it was no longer possible for them to know whether they loved each other or hated each other, or what it was that had held them together and seems to have confused the image of their separate destinies.

Episode one, The Jewel in the Crown.

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