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Arts & Culture

The Jewel In The Crown

Geraldine James as Sarah Layton and Charles Dance as Guy Perron.
Courtesy of © ITV Global Entertainment Limited
Geraldine James as Sarah Layton and Charles Dance as Guy Perron.

Airs daily from Saturday, Aug. 15 - Friday, Aug. 21, 2015 at 12 p.m. & 1 p.m. on KPBS TV

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THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN, the beloved drama series based on Paul Scott’s epic four novels known collectively as “The Raj Quartet,” returns to PBS in 2015, more than a quarter-century after it first aired. Winner of a Golden Globe Award for Best Mini-Series or Television Film, an International Emmy Award for Drama and many other awards when it premiered, THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN is set in India when the country was still the empire’s “jewel.” The miniseries begins in 1942, when Gandhi was telling the British to “quit India” and the Japanese were threatening to invade.

Tim Pigott-Smith (center) as Ronald Merrick, District Superintendent of Police.
Courtesy of © ITV Global Entertainment Limited
Tim Pigott-Smith (center) as Ronald Merrick, District Superintendent of Police.
Art Malik as Hari Kumar and Susan Wooldridge as Daphne Manners.
Courtesy of © ITV Global Entertainment Limited
Art Malik as Hari Kumar and Susan Wooldridge as Daphne Manners.

The Raj Quartet

As Paul Scott wrote at the beginning of the first volume, “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 held them together and seems to have confused the image of their separate destinies.”

Geraldine James as Sarah Layton.
Courtesy of © ITV Global Entertainment Limited
Geraldine James as Sarah Layton.
Stuart Wilson as Jimmy Clarke and Geraldine James as Sarah Layton.
Courtesy of © ITV Global Entertainment Limited
Stuart Wilson as Jimmy Clarke and Geraldine James as Sarah Layton.
Charles Dance as Guy Perron.
Courtesy of © ITV Global Entertainment Limited
Charles Dance as Guy Perron.
Derrick Branche as Ahmed Kasim.
Courtesy of © ITV Global Entertainment Limited
Derrick Branche as Ahmed Kasim.
Give $7.50 /mo or $90 during our TV Membership Campaign beginning Aug. 8, and receive a “The Jewel In The Crown” Anniversary Edition 5-DVD set. This gift includes a KPBS License Plate Frame (if you're a new member).
Give $7.50 /mo or $90 during our TV Membership Campaign beginning Aug. 8, and receive a “The Jewel In The Crown” Anniversary Edition 5-DVD set. This gift includes a KPBS License Plate Frame (if you're a new member).

THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN is a study of British culture abroad, capturing two distinct class systems — British and Indian. The miniseries features a stellar cast that includes Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Charles Dance, Geraldine James, Art Malik, Judy Parfitt, Tim Pigott-Smith and Susan Wooldridge.

EPISODE GUIDE

Episode 1: “Crossing The River” airs Saturday, August 15 at 12 p.m. - In 1942, the Japanese, having conquered Burma, are threatening India. At Mayapore, Hari Kumar comes under suspicion of subversion by Merrick, the District Superintendent of Police.

Episode 2: “The Bibighar Gardens” airs Saturday, August 15 at 1 p.m. - Daphne and Hari draw closer together. After an assignation with him in the Bibighar Gardens, on a night of rioting and protest, she returns home, claiming she’s been raped. On flimsy evidence, Merrick arrests Hari.

Episode 3: “Questions of Loyalty” airs Sunday, August 16 at 12 p.m. - Hari Kumar, still keeping his vow of silence, remains in prison on suspicion of rape. Daphne dies giving birth to Hari’s daughter, and her aunt, Lady Manners, decides to raise the child herself. About to be posted to the war front, Teddie Bingham and his fiancée, Susan Layton, decide to bring forward their marriage.

Episode 4: “Incidents at a Wedding” airs Sunday, August 16 at 1 p.m. - The arrangements for Susan and Teddie's wedding are threatened, but Merrick provides a solution. The Layton family gathers at Mirat, but what should be a happy occasion is overshadowed by unexplained incidents.

Episode 5: “The Regimental Silver” airs Monday, August 17 at 12 p.m. - Susan and Teddie's wedding day was a happy one, except perhaps for the attack on the car taking Ronald Merrick and Teddie to the Church. Merrick comes to apologize to Sarah and explain the connections between Mirat and Maypore where Daphne was attacked. The events of that night also trouble Lady Manners as she works to procure Hari’s freedom from jail.

Episode 6: “Ordeal By Fire” airs Monday, August 17 at 1 p.m. - In Pankot, Sarah breaks the news of Teddie's death to Susan and later they learn of the great bravery shown in an attempt to save his life. Sarah embarks on a journey to bring comfort to a wounded man, and in Calcutta comes face to face with the war and it's pain.

Episode 7: “Daughters of the Regiment” airs Tuesday, August 18 at 12 p.m. - While visiting the wounded Ronald Merrick in Calcutta, Sarah meets Jimmy Clark, who later challenges many of the values by which she lives. In Pankot, another daughter of the regiment confesses her own act of rebellion long ago.

Episode 8: “The Day of the Scorpion” airs Tuesday, August 18 at 1 p.m. - Sarah returns to Pankot to find her sister Susan becoming increasingly agitated by her new baby. Merrick, too, is close to madness. Who will snap first?

Episode 9: “The Towers of Silence” airs Wednesday, August 19 at 12 p.m. - Susan’s baby has been rescued from the ring of fire that nearly engulfed him. Barbie embarks on a generous mission, but is turned back by an appalling discovery.

Episode 10: “An Evening at the Maharanee’s” airs Wednesday, August 19 at 1 p.m. - It is 1945. Colonel Layton has been released from prison camp and after visiting Barbie in the hospital, Sarah goes to Bombay to welcome him home. Also in Bombay is Sgt. Gut Perron, of Military Intelligence, quickly drawn by Major Ronald Merrick into a web of intrigue, a web which binds the Laytons too, And at a strange party, Guy widens his circle of friends, with far reaching consequences.

Episode 11: “Traveling Companions” airs Thursday, August 20 at 12 p.m. - Sarah learns to her great distress that Merrick is about to announce his engagement to Susan. She turns for help to an old friend who knows more about Merrick’s past than anyone.

Episode 12: “The Moghul Room” airs Thursday, August 20 at 1 p.m. - Merrick, having blackmailed an orderly to gain access to Susan’s records, is recalled to Delhi at the end of the war. Guy and Sarah find that their friendship with Hari is drawing them together.

Episode 13: “Pandora's Box” airs Friday, August 21 at 12 p.m. - In August 1947, Guy Perron, now a Cambridge history lecturer, returns to India on the eve of Independence to observe the last days of British rule. He discovers that Merrick has married Susan, but has subsequently been killed, ostensibly in a riding accident. No-one is anxious to discuss the details.

Sarah is distant when they meet again - she is involved, with Ahmed Kasim, in managing the Nawab's household. The Nawab himself faces a dilemma - whether to opt for political independence for his small state, or to integrate with the forthcoming Indian Union Territory.

Perron questions Nigel Rowan about Merrick's death, and learns the non-unexpected truth - Merrick was murdered. The facts are recorded, but a murdered Englishman is a undesirable fact at a time when India's independence is threatening to release a Pandora's Box of troubles.

Episode 14: “A Division of the Spoils” airs Friday, August 21 at 1 p.m. - As India moves toward independence, the final strands of this drama are revealed. Guy discovers the horrific details of Merrick’s death. He travels to Ranpur for the independence celebrations, but the train is besieged and Ahmed Kasim and other Muslims are killed.

THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN was produced by ITV and is presented by PBS.