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ITV series The Singapore Grip will be starting on Sunday, September 13 at 9pm. The six-part drama series is a satirical look at the decline of the British Empire during World War Two. Express.co.uk has the lowdown on the settings and filming locations as well as insight from the cast and crew of The Singapore Grip.
Where is The Singapore Grip set?
The Singapore Grip is adapted from the 1978 novel of the same name by author J.G. Farrell.
The book is one instalment from Farrell’s The Empire Trilogy which analyses the detrimental effects of British colonialism albeit in a mildly satirical manner.
Other novels in the series are The Siege of Krishnapur set in 19th century India and Troubles which takes place in Ireland after World War One.
The Singapore Grip is in the most recently set of these novels, taking place in Singapore in 1942 just as the war get serious.
The show will chart The Fall of Singapore, which saw the British surrender to the Japanese in a crushing defeat almost akin to Dunkirk.
Singapore will be a character in itself as viewers see the main players reeling in shock from the Japanese invasion.
Among the big locations will be the home of rubber plantation owner and businessman Walter Blackett (played by David Morrissey).
The homes of their equally affluent friends also feature, including Walter’s business partner Mr Webb (Charles Dance) and his lavish abode.
Audiences will get an insight into the British community living in Singapore and see their view on the locals.
Where is The Singapore Grip filmed?
Contrary to the title, The Singapore Grip was filmed in neighbouring Malaysia rather than the Asian island because most of these imperial buildings no longer exist and have been built upon.
Singapore is now very cosmopolitan and heavily built up, looking very different to how it would have done in the 1940s.
Producer Farah Abushwesha told media including Express.co.uk about the filming locations: “We were incredibly lucky to find the Blackett and Webb houses. We were shooting in Carcosa Seri Negara, which is a residence located right in the heart of two adjacent hills of the botanical gardens in KL [Kuala Lumpur].
“They were once the official residence of the British High Commission but over time they became very historical buildings in Malaysian history itself because that’s the point where independence was declared.
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“They had gone through many transformations before we got to them. They’ve been used as residences of dignitaries, a luxury hotel and when we got there a museum. But they were both within five minutes walking distance of each other and right in the heart of this luscious greenness which doesn’t exist in Singapore.
“The beach road which is in Singapore itself is now three miles from the actual beach because they’ve filled in so much of the sea and reclaimed it as land.
“Then we also used Chinatown in Penang, which was absolutely spectacular and really authentic and just takes you back to that time and that period. It feels very untouched.
“There’s a UNESCO preservation on it. We also filmed in the cricket pitch in Penang itself and that was one of the original locations that features historically during the Second World War.”
The cricket pitch itself was bombed during the conflict, making it very much a part of history.
Some of the other filming locations included restaurants which had been around since the 1940s.
One of the toughest sequences to shoot was the Battle of Slim River which required a body of water which wasn’t too broad as well a rubber plantation and Japanese tanks.
The production team even considered even going to Thailand to shoot the action scene, but it wasn’t feasible due to time constraints.
In the end, the art department were able to construct a tank and the team creatively shot the sequence.
The Singapore Grip starts on ITV on Sunday, September 13 at 9pm
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