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Eldergays: Tell me about "The Jewel In the Crown"

It had male pubic hair, a glimpse of penis and several unclothed males as well as gay story lines.

Was it considered very shocking when it was on TV in 1984?

Was it only shown in the UK or did it make it to the US (and were the nudity and gay theme lines edited out in the US?)


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by Anonymousreply 7402/25/2021

Well, there was this crown. I think it had a jewel in it.

by Anonymousreply 102/20/2021

It was shown in the US. I don't remember any controversy when it aired. I've read the books and watched the series.

by Anonymousreply 202/20/2021

I don't remember pubic hair in it in the US. I think I do recall the lead Indian man, who was very good-looking, was stripped or tortured at one point, but they didn't show very much, at least on Public TV. Maybe you saw his butt from a distance.

by Anonymousreply 302/20/2021

Here's the penis/pubic hair scene, the one R3 describes.

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by Anonymousreply 402/20/2021

I shawnt answer any of your questions until you tell me why I am here.

by Anonymousreply 502/20/2021

Nice bush! For like 1 second..., but still, nice bush and good-looking man.

by Anonymousreply 602/20/2021

What distinguishes this show from most other TV shows of the time is that it was filmed, not taped. So the picture quality is great for a TV show.

It is very well written and acted.

But there were months between the exterior scenes shot in India and the interior scenes shot in England. And the female lead put on noticeable weight in that time. So she is about 20 pounds heavier each time she goes into any building.

by Anonymousreply 702/20/2021

Isn't that the series where Geraldine James' weight keeps going up and down from one scene to the next?

by Anonymousreply 802/20/2021

R8, see R7.

by Anonymousreply 902/20/2021

Judy Parfitt is the Datalounge's ultimate "spirit animal."

by Anonymousreply 1002/20/2021

I watched it when I was in high school and don’t really appreciate it. It was back when showing anything gay on TV was shocking

by Anonymousreply 1102/20/2021

I saw Geraldine James as Portia in "The Merchant of Venice" on Broadway and she stole the show from Dustin Hoffman. Really excellent.

by Anonymousreply 1202/20/2021

My father had a major mancrush on Art Malik. He'd always get super excited when he'd show up randomly in True Lies or whatever.

by Anonymousreply 1302/20/2021

Excellent series with first rate cast

by Anonymousreply 1402/20/2021

It taught me to lure my assignations by whispering, "Join me in the Bibighar."

by Anonymousreply 1502/20/2021

I just remember the one guy asking the white woman if she liked black cock. And wondering if the English thought of the Indians as being "black".

by Anonymousreply 1602/20/2021

[quote] And wondering if the English thought of the Indians as being "black".

In many of the books of the time (see Evelyn Waugh's books) Middle Easterners and South Asians are referred to as black. A diluted bit of that is seen in Downton Abbey when Theo James' character appears, and he is seen as exotic ("like no Englishman I've ever seen").

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by Anonymousreply 1702/20/2021

[quote]And wondering if the English thought of the Indians as being "black".

Oh, honey . . . the English think of the Welch as being black. And don't get them going on the Italians.

by Anonymousreply 1802/20/2021

It's WELSH not Welch ^

by Anonymousreply 1902/20/2021

Art Malik was gorgeous in "Jewel," but rather less attractive many years later in the "Upstairs, Downstairs" reboot.

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by Anonymousreply 2002/20/2021

He was hot back then, in an 80s sort of way.

The character, as described in the books, was supposed to be very good looking and sort of a dumb jock who had mostly been interested in cricket when he was at school.

by Anonymousreply 2102/20/2021

My mom watched this so I did too. I was pissed when the main lead female character died early on. Then she wasn't and there were two sisters and I guess one of them was the lead character. One was very pretty and one wasn't. I don't remember much else about it, but I guess I'd like to watch it again.

by Anonymousreply 2202/20/2021

I mean "then she wasn't the main character anymore." Maybe she wasn't in the first place, but I thought she was.

by Anonymousreply 2302/20/2021

In the books R22, the story is told in a non-linear manner with multiple POVs, including letters, diaries and interviews.

But everything that happens and all of the characters relate back at some level to the story of what happened that night in the Bibighar Gardens.

So when the first lead (Daphne Manners) dies and is replaced by Sarah Layton, it's because Sarah is somehow connected to everyone from the Bibighar story.

by Anonymousreply 2402/20/2021

What is there more to tell?

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by Anonymousreply 2502/20/2021

Or try....

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by Anonymousreply 2602/20/2021

Great British actress Judy Parfitt is a study on how to be a stone cold high riding bitch as Mrs. Layton

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by Anonymousreply 2702/20/2021

I watched it after reading about it here. It was good but not the best thing I've ever watched.

by Anonymousreply 2802/20/2021

So imagine everyone's surprise when Bobbi catches Mrs. Layton being plowed by a young officer of the regiment. See 9:06 in clip linked below.

For all the shit Mrs. Layton dished out to Bobbi before and after the latter saw what she was up to; Bobbi never called out Mildred. She did let the officer who Mildred was fucking know (in the most proper British way of course) that she had his number.

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by Anonymousreply 2902/20/2021

Sorry, wrong clip...

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by Anonymousreply 3002/20/2021

Thank you for that R25. It's always interesting to see what people thought years ago. (One thread you linked to in 12 years old, the other six years old)

The series is now on PBS which is available via Amazon Prime.

The was one comment on the older thread I found very interesting--it was a defense of the Ronald Merrick character, saying that as a working class Brit he bought into the whole notion of the British being superior to the Indians and bettering their lives at a time when all the other characters--the "public school" types had abandoned that notion and found Merrick to be tedious on that and treated him badly in general because he was not of their class, though in reality he was just doing the job he was sent there to do, and doing it well.

It's interesting because I'd read a book about the Raj Quartet that made that same argument and I wonder if the author of that post was the author of the book, a reader of the book or just someone who'd reached a similar conclusion.

Paul Scott, the author of the Raj Quartet was allegedly gay, especially in his youth, but as the consequences of being gay became more apparent, he married and had several kids.

by Anonymousreply 3102/21/2021

I mean it was a sensation when it aired. Remember this was the prime era of prestige British television dramas airing on PBS's Masterpiece Theater which had a whole generation of elites and pseudo-intellectuals hooked (I, Claudius, the Le Carre adaptations, Brideshead Revisited). And, truth to tell, it was really quite an excellent adaptation. Gave Peggy Ashcroft a classic role (which she would essentially repeat in A Passage to India). Also introduced the dashing Charles Dance to the larger public. I watched it again a few years ago and it's definitely slow but it holds up. After a while you sort of submit to its slow pace, intricate storytelling, soap-opera-y elements, and fine performances.

by Anonymousreply 3202/21/2021

R31-Some character on The Jewel In The Crown mentioned Ronald's class . It was not working class but LOWER middle class.

by Anonymousreply 3302/21/2021

R28- The BEST British drama was the original 1971-1975 Upstairs Downstairs followed by I Claudius (1976), then The Jewel In The Crown.

by Anonymousreply 3402/21/2021

Yeah, that penis glimpse was edited from the show when it first aired because I definitely would've remembered that, given I had a crush on the character Hari Kumar.

I think I remember seeing Art Malik only in a handful of things after that - most recently in the miniseries A Woman in White and in Arthur & George.

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by Anonymousreply 3502/21/2021

R35- I could NOT blame Daphne Manners for being HOT in pants for him.

by Anonymousreply 3602/21/2021

Homosexual undertones aplenty

by Anonymousreply 3702/21/2021

and OVERtones

by Anonymousreply 3802/21/2021

I tried reading the first book in the series but gave up after about 150 pages because I felt too ignorant of the Anglo-Indian politics that play a major role in the story-telling. I'd love to give it another try.

However, I did read the final book called Staying On (which I believe Scott completed years after the others) about an elderly British couple who are the last remaining of their class and loved it.

by Anonymousreply 3902/21/2021

Yes R33, I assume that distinction is meaningful in the UK, in the US, lower middle class and working class are used more or less interchangeably these days as a result of there not really being much of a middle class any more.

Merrick's backstory in the book is that his father was a somewhat successful shopkeeper but that both parents died when Ronald was a teenager, and he was taken in by the headmaster of his grammar school, who, knowing he was very bright and might have been able to go on to university had his father not died, helped him secure a job in the Indian police where it was thought that his background would not work against him the way it would back home.

This seems clearly meant to contrast with Hari Kumar, who was also orphaned, but was not taken care of by anyone in the Chillingborough community and found himself back in India. Hari had assumed (as did the other Chillingboroughians) that his Indian relatives would agree to resume his education, but they did not and he was too proud/embarrassed/shocked to ask any of his friends , classmates or teachers back in England for help.

Daphne Manners is also an orphan--her father and brother were killed in the North African campaign, but she is taken in by her wealthy aunt, Lady Manners.

Guy Perron is also an orphan--his parents died when he was very young, but he was raised by a collection of eccentric and unmarried aunts and uncles.

Ditto Barbie Bachelor, who becomes a missionary upon the death of her parents.

Scott seemed to be making a point about how the upper classes take care of their orphaned relations, providing them with the same opportunities and privilege, while Merrick and Kumar were both thrown off track by their parents' deaths.

Thinking about it, a paper examining Scott's use of orphanhood in the Raj Quartet would make an excellent undergrad thesis.

Oh well, next time I'm in college ;)

by Anonymousreply 4002/21/2021

Yes R39, Staying On is much funnier and does feature the Smalleys, a couple who play a minor role in the Raj Quartet. IIRC, it even won the Booker Prize

In that book we learn that Guy Perron and Sarah Layton got married upon her return to England and are still happily married with several (at that point college-aged) children, and that Susan Layton remarried a third time and is finally happy.

by Anonymousreply 4102/21/2021

OP- Most of the British characters in the mini series were Upper Middle Class ( Daphne Manners, The Laytons) not UPPER class. The Upper classes like Lady Marjorie on Upstairs Downstairs stayed home. James is about to marry Phyllis and Lady Marjorie says- These middle class army people employ dozens of native servants and they think they're equal to everyone.

by Anonymousreply 4202/21/2021

Thank you R42

That point is made very clear in the books, that going to India allows Brits of all stations to live much better than they would have back home, with many servants and in large houses.

The book goes into details about how the Laytons are pinching pennies until they receive the generous inheritance Mabel Layton left them--one of Sarah's duties is to figure out ways to discreetly pay off her mother's bridge debts.

Similarly, the Smalleys, in the coda, feel trapped in India, as they would barely be able to afford to live in England at that point (early 1970s)

by Anonymousreply 4302/21/2021

Geraldine James appears in the Downton Abbey movie as Queen Mary.

by Anonymousreply 4402/21/2021

Never heard of this before but it seems right up my alley! For those who have both seen the series and read the books, which do you recommend first?

by Anonymousreply 4502/21/2021

If time is not an issue, probably the books, though they are four pretty lengthy books (they are also available on Audible if you'd rather listen.)

by Anonymousreply 4602/21/2021

[quote] it's definitely slow but it holds up. After a while you sort of submit to its slow pace, intricate storytelling, soap-opera-y elements

As with the books.

by Anonymousreply 4702/21/2021

Interesting interview with Tim Pigott-Smith.

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by Anonymousreply 4802/21/2021

British dramas like The Jewel In The Crown, I Claudius, Upstairs/Downstairs, etc... were all big in USA because at that time they were something fresh and new.

God knows USA network television stations did not offer anything comparable. Best people could hope for was something on cable (A&E, Bravo, etc..), but not everyone could afford or had that service while PBS is free.

by Anonymousreply 4902/21/2021

Keep in mind large numbers of British who went or were sent (as in military or diplomatic postings) to India came from the middle to even upper lower classes. Some went for religious purposes (the missionaries), others to find husbands (young girls who were nobodies in UK), others still to make their fortunes by exploiting any thing or persons they could.

British didn't consider those native to India, well "niggers". They were accepted slightly below or in some cases (if royal) as somewhat equals. Interracial marriages to anyone but the most fair (think Merle Oberon) was socially impossible, but never the less that and other things did happen.

What many did get up to was same really as South Africa, indulged in all sorts of vices that would get them into trouble back home.

Prior to arrival of British India had no specific laws against homosexuality nor transvestism. That the British soon changed that didn't alter fact men who went out there so inclined did indulge themselves.

Police Superintendent, Ronald Merrick is one such person. A man tortured and twisted by his desires that he leaves a wake of carnage about and ultimately causes his own destruction.

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by Anonymousreply 5002/21/2021

I enjoyed every moment of the series and bought the dvd. One never forgot Peggy Ashcroft as Barbie Batcheor who never was accepted in that particular society, especially with Judy Parfitt calling the shots. One can see Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan in the series "Call The Midwife" which has babies popping out every fifteen minutes. Push, push...the head is coming...push

by Anonymousreply 5102/21/2021

Bits from an excellent NYT review at the time....

"As the story unfolds, a military family called the Laytons gradually takes over center stage, playing their individual parts with varying degrees of virtue or viciousness as their India, the India that provided a style of life they could never have attained or afforded in Britain, begins crumbling around them. They discover, with a shock that reveals the depth of their haughty ignorance, the profound resentment that has been festering among their former servants. Exceptional performances are contributed by, just to mention a few, Dame Peggy Ashcroft as the missionary Barbie Batchelor who is caught in the web of hatred and greed; Geraldine James as Sarah Layton, the one member of her family who, like Daphne Manners, doesn't fit into the ways of the Raj; Eric Porter as the wily Russian Count Bronowsky, adviser to an independent Indian ruler, and Judy Parfitt as the cold, calculating Mrs. Layton, almost as vicious as Merrick in her alcoholic snobbery."

"Worse, Daphne is attracted to Hari, ignoring the strictly enforced British commandment that the 'naturally' superior whites never mix with those of a darker skin. Daphne also has the misfortune to catch the amorous attentions of a police officer named Ronald Merrick, who is using his post in India as a means to climb out of his humble middle-class origins back home. Brandishing a pronounced sadistic streak, Merrick takes an intense dislike to Hari who, despite the Indian's despised dark skin, looks and sounds like the stereotypical English gentleman. When Daphne is found raped, Hari's fate at the hands of the vicious Merrick is thus sealed."

"The first episodes revolve around the intriguing figure of Hari Kumar, known, in his posh British public- school days, as Harry Coomer. Hari was taken to England at the age of 2 by his ambitious Indian father who wanted to make sure that his son would grow up to be a proper English gentleman. But when his father's money ran out, Hari was shipped back to Mayapore, where the once-elegant cricket player found himself an outsider, snubbed by the British rulers, known as 'the Raj,' and despised by Indians for being too British. "

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by Anonymousreply 5202/21/2021


Everything you want to know about Barbara Batchelor comes from this character study.

"Barbie comes from a working-class background, and this — as well as her taking up space in Rose Cottage — causes Mildred Layton to resent her. Barbie's egalitarian attitudes, based on her communal Christian beliefs, annoy and exasperate Mildred.

Barbie is a figure of fun for the English elite in Pankot. They mock her and roll their eyes at what they view as her hysterics and spread rumors that she is a lesbian. However, Sarah Layton, especially, and her sister, Susan, have affection for her.

She talks a lot and fondly remembers her father, a drinker from Camberwell with a joy for life.

The author uses Barbie and other characters to show how India changes Europeans until they no longer resemble those they left behind. Barbie speaks fluent Hindi and is perhaps more Indian than British."

by Anonymousreply 5302/21/2021

Again as mentioned previously Barbie could have knocked Mildred Layton off her high social horse and onto ground if she wished by revealing the latter's affair Capt. Kevin Coley. Fact that she doesn't and continues to let Mildred shit on her up until moment of death is in character for Barbie. Her religious beliefs won't allow Barbie to stoop down to "their" level.

by Anonymousreply 5402/21/2021

It was a luxurious exercise in superb acting by grand old warhorses like Peggy Ashcroft and Rachel Kempson, fully supported by the rest of the cast as well as by the opulent sets and locations.

by Anonymousreply 5502/21/2021

Was the expression "the jewel in the crown" used to refer to India before the book came out? Or was it an invention of the author?

by Anonymousreply 5602/21/2021

R56, it was used before the books came out.

by Anonymousreply 5702/21/2021

India was considered the "Jewel In The Crown" of Great Britain because of her vast natural resources that were going to be, and were exploited.

by Anonymousreply 5802/21/2021

There was a whole substrata of "Anglo-Indians", offspring to British men and Indian women and their descendants. They were Christian, spoke English and had English named. Anglo-Indians filled the middle class role as Brits hired them in roles somewhere between themselves and Indians. Many could pass as white and did--there's a description of that in "Staying On"

There were well over a million Anglo-Indians but it seems that most of them have left since independence.

by Anonymousreply 5902/22/2021

^^offspring of, not to.

by Anonymousreply 6002/22/2021

The love 💕 that began to whisper its name

by Anonymousreply 6102/22/2021

Or more accurately, many of the mixed race Anglo-Indians emigrated to the US, Canada and Australia where they were able to pass as white--they had British surnames and were Christians, spoke with British accents and there was no internet in the 1950s to track them back. Plus many were third or fourth generation.

by Anonymousreply 6202/22/2021

That seems unlikely, R62. Where do you get such ideas?

by Anonymousreply 6302/22/2021

I see what you did there R63

by Anonymousreply 6402/22/2021

For those wanting to understand more about British rule of India the massacre at Bibighar is required study.

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by Anonymousreply 6502/22/2021


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by Anonymousreply 6602/22/2021

Siege of Cawnpore

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by Anonymousreply 6702/22/2021

Merle Oberon ruined her skin and also (IIRC) made herself ill by extensive use of bleaching creams in aid of turning her dusky complexion more white.

India society long had some issues with dusky or darker skinned persons which revolved around mainly issues of caste and few other niggles. Things were driven into overdrive however upon arrival of the British and other Europeans who did exactly what such men did world over.

Breeding of heirs of such dalliances produced same results as in United States, Caribeean and South America with Africans and native Indian populations; a litany of peoples defined by level of "white" blood" (or amount of non-white). This along with those having more European features (lighter skin, blue eyes, etc...) elevated above those with darker features.

To this day many women and some men in India go the Merle Oberon route and bleach their skin with various creams or lotions.

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by Anonymousreply 6802/22/2021


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by Anonymousreply 6902/22/2021

R45, I'd suggest mini-series first, then, if you like the story, the books. Seems like it's always disappointing the other way around, and if you like the film/TV version, you then get so much more from the books.

To this day I associate Charles Dance with this. I thought he was so hot--tall, educated, kind. I was jealous of the actress.

by Anonymousreply 7002/22/2021

It's not "slow"'s a properly passed literary drama with interesting complex characters and situations.

I get irritated when people complain about the "slowness" of older's not that the older films and TV shows are slow; they're not (well, not all of them).

I blame this modern impatience on the current trend for storytelling in film/TV that moves very quickly, with lots of short, fast scenes that are edited to move swiftly from shot to shot and from scene to scene with the result you lose all sense of intelligent plotting or the creation of any kind of interesting character development.

I blame superhero movies and terrible tv shows from ShondaLand and Ryan Murphy. All surface glitz and no actual meaningful content.

by Anonymousreply 7102/22/2021


Oh I don't know, have you ever attempted reading Proust?

by Anonymousreply 7202/23/2021

(72) With a supply of petites madeleines

by Anonymousreply 7302/23/2021

[quote]Oh I don't know, have you ever attempted reading Proust?

One of my most enjoyable reading experiences was the summer I spent reading Proust at the beach on weekends. To be able to take your time and savor the richness of the language (the original CK Scott Montcrieff translation), the subtlety of the characters and the progression of time (which is what it is all about), it was a real privilege. And fascinating to read about gay characters so openly at that point in time. To be sure, the two Albertine books were a bit of a slog, but overall it was marvelous.

BTW translator Scott Montcrieff was himself a big homo and led a life as extraordinary as any character in Proust - there was a bio of him published a few years back - worth hunting down on used book sites.

by Anonymousreply 7402/25/2021
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