Julie Walters 'ignorant' about British empire

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 29 January 2015
Julie Walters

Julie Walters as Cynthia in 'Indian Summers'

Julie Walters has confessed she was "ignorant" about the British Empire in India until she researched her role in new period drama 'Indian Summers'

Julie Walters was "ignorant" about the history of the British Empire before making 'Indian Summers'.

The 64-year-old actress has confessed she knew very little about British-run India before signing up to star in the new Channel 4 period drama, which is set in the country in 1932.

Walters plays "east end girl" Cynthia, who rises to social success during her time in India, in the new show and admits she'd been "ignorant" about the period in history before researching the role.

She said: "I didn't know anything about the real lives, especially working class folk being out there. When it has been portrayed in the past it has not been balanced. This has corrected that."

The show's creator, Paul Rutman, hopes the drama will help viewers to appreciate the history of Britain's involvement in India, which he believes has too often been misunderstood.

According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, he said: "I thought about this whole world being either forgotten or swept under the carpet.

"Empire is still something that many on the right are quietly proud of, but a source of deep shame from the left. With 'Indian Summers', I wanted to ride those contradictions.

"There's a generation that's dying out now for whom empire was a huge part of their lives, so I wanted to ask the question: what did we think we were doing out there?"

Channel 4 plan to broadcast a series of the show - which calls on 'Downton Abbey's historical advisor Alistair Bruce to ensure it is in keeping with 30s etiquette and appearances - in each of the next five years as Britain's involvement in India comes to an end.

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