From ‘Abbey’ to ‘Beecham’

(Above: Lesley Nicol in ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Beecham House.’ Sources: ITV, IMDb)

Downton Abbey’s feisty cook Mrs. Patmore as the matriarch of a rich British family in late 18th Century, pre-colonial India?

You can see actress Lesley Nicol’s transformation in Beecham House, a six-episode British drama debuting this Sunday, March 1, but not on PBS stations. Instead, Beecham House will stream on both PBS Passport, available to members of PBS stations, and PBS Masterpiece, an Amazon Prime add-on channel.

Nicol plays Henrietta Beecham in the series, which stars Tom Bateman (Vanity FairJekyll and Hyde) as her son John, with Leo Suter (Sanditon) as another son, Daniel. It’s 1795, and John, a former soldier with the East India Company, buys an imposing Delhi mansion to house his family. Twists, turns and complex relationships follow.

Beecham House was written, directed and produced by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice, Blinded By The Light).

The series ran originally on the UK’s ITV last summer.

Semi-spoiler alert: Despite a cliffhanger ending in episode six, ITV did not renew  Beecham House for a second season.

Amazon Prime subscribers can get PBS Masterpiece for an additional $5.99 a month following a seven-day free trial.

There’s no word yet on when Beecham House will air on PBS stations or be available on PBS.org or the PBS video app.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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