Channel 4 commissions projects on Indian Partition, “Vardy v Rooney” trial

Channel 4 has announced that Optomen will produce India 1947: Partition in Colour for the network, a two-part documentary marking the 75th anniversary of the division of India that uses ...
July 25, 2022

Channel 4 has announced that Optomen will produce India 1947: Partition in Colour for the network, a two-part documentary marking the 75th anniversary of the division of India that uses archival film footage which has been colorized for the first time.

The 2 x 60-minute film (pictured) will employ colorized archival film footage and private documents to examine the events leading up to and the fallout from Partition, which divided India into the independent nation states of India and Pakistan following the withdrawal of British rule in 1947. Spotlighting three of the key players in Partition — British viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s first governor-general — the documentary digs into the interpersonal dynamics underpinning the events, including the enmity between Mountbatten and Jinnah, the rumored affair between Nehru and Mountbatten’s wife, the lack of action as violence between Hindus and Muslims escalated, and the ultimate results of a fatally rushed process to end Britain’s centuries-long rule of India.

India 1947 also boasts privileged access to the private unpublished memoir of Christopher Beaumont, the private secretary of Cyril Radcliffe, who was tasked with creating the border between India and Pakistan. The documentary reveals what happened during the final days leading up to August 15, when the border line was changed at the last minute.

Historians interviewed for the documentary include Shruti Kapila of Cambridge University, Adeel Hussain of Leiden University, and Andrew Lownie, author of The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves. Also featured is Lakshman Menon, grandson of Mountbatten’s chief aide V.P. Menon.

Nick Hornby serves as executive producer for the documentary, with Laura Nash as series director and Alice Fraser producing.

“Our hope is to bring the story of Partition to life for a new generation and shed new light on how the personalities involved helped shape one of the most shocking chapters in the history of the British Empire,” Hornby said.

Channel 4 head of specialist factual Shaminder Nahal, who commissioned the film, added: “Seventy-five years on, this series tries to bring to life one of the most tumultuous events of the 20th century for a new audience. With the help of historians and relatives of some key players, the films examine the decisions taken by the main protagonists and the terrible events that followed. As the contributors grippingly convey, it’s history that shudders with resonance for today.”

Channel 4 commissions Chalkboard for Vardy v Rooney docudrama

Channel 4 has also announced that it has commissioned Chalkboard for a docudrama on the 2022 #WagathaChristie court case between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney.

In 2019, Rooney posted a series of fake stories on her private Instagram to determine who was leaking her personal information to The Sun. Rooney then announced via social media that Vardy was the leak. Vardy maintained her innocence, and sued Rooney for defamation.

The two-part Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama will recreate the resulting trial, using real court transcripts verbatim. The series will also include analysis from traditional and social media, while actors play the parts of the main characters Vardy, Rooney, and their two football-star husbands, Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy.

The factual drama was commissioned by commissioning editor Tim Hancock and head of factual entertainment Alf Lawrie. Tom Popay will executive produce for Chalkboard, with Oonagh Kearney directing and Christ Atkins writing.

“The #WagathaChristie phenomenon has become one of the most talked-about moments in the history of social media,” Popay said in a news release. “The court case that followed has captivated the entire nation, but very few people actually got to see what happened inside the courtroom. We’re excited to bring the trial to life in such a unique way, and we’re hoping we can get to the bottom of how this case fascinated and amazed so many.”

Hancock added: “The court transcripts are utterly compelling and give a deep insight into the relationship between celebrities and the media, as well as showing how far some people will go to protect their reputation.”

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.