Beecham House (2019): Season 1, Episode 1 - Episode #1.1 - full transcript

Who are you, stranger?

John Beecham.


'Is our new master a
nobleman from the south,

'or a Rajput from the north?

Is he a vegetarian, or a meat-eater?'

I do not know. But what does it matter?

As long as this house
is once again a home,

- and your kitchen a palace.
- My work is done.

The house is cleansed and blessed
and ready for our new master.

I have had a vision.

He is tall and fair.

Like a Kashmiri or Pathaan.

You will see.


Open the gate!

Your new Saheb is here.


At last, he's here.


Unload, then rest.

At dawn, you leave for Calcutta.


I told you he was fair.

You said Kashmiri. He is an Englishman.

Welcome to Delhi, Saheb.

It is an honour to meet you. I am Baadal.

Pleasure to meet you, Baadal.

This is Ram Lal, trusted servant to...

No one mentioned a baby is coming, Saheb.


You will learn that I am a private man.

Now, I should like to see the house.

Of course, sir.

Bring the trunks from the carriage.

What about the women and baby?

We've only prepared a master's quarters.

Saheb, we have prepared the finest
bedchamber in the house for you.

Where should I take the ladies?

No, the child and his attendant
shall have those quarters.

See that they do not want for anything.

Did you see the child?
It is not fully European.

Our English Saheb is enjoying
India and all her pleasures.

It will make a fine nursery.

Maya and Chanchal will sleep here.

Ram Lal will attend to them.

Baadal, you will have to prepare
another room for my mother.

She is travelling from England
and will arrive here very soon.

See that she has all the comforts

that an elderly English lady requires.

Travelling alone, Saheb?

She must be a very brave lady.

You will discover that
one cannot dissuade her

once her mind is set on any course.

- We will treat her like a
Maharani, Saheb. - Quite.


Good morning, Baadal.

Good morning, sir.

Please, let me show you the garden.

We'll turn this into a
chapel for my mother.

An English chapel?

Very well, Saheb.

I have not seen my mother in 12 years.

And now she has invited herself.

A mother cannot live without her son.

That is what my mother tells
me every time she sees me.


It is an invitation from one...

General Castillon.

Who is he?

Not a good man, Saheb.

He is a French mercenary for the Emperor.

He has eyes and ears everywhere.

Vos armes, Monsieur.

It is a great pleasure
to meet you, Mr Beecham.

Or should I say, Lieutenant Beecham?

The pleasure is mine, General Castillon.

I'm surprised news of my arrival
has travelled so quickly.

It is my duty to inform the Emperor

of any movements of British military men.

I am not who you take me to be.


But your time in the East India Company

has clearly borne fruit,

for you to acquire the
house of a grand nobleman.

General, I am not a representative
of the East India Company.

Nor am I any longer a lieutenant.

I am just John Beecham, Esquire.

I left the Company years
ago and set up a business.

To trade.

Your East India Company
also claims to trade,

when the truth is, you steal.

So, the Company have
their eyes on Delhi now.

Is Bengal not enough for them?


India belongs to neither
the British nor the French.

If the French departed,
there would be no one

to stop the British from
taking all of India, yes?


.. I am not like my countrymen.

S'il vous plait.

The British never turn their back
on an opportunity they can exploit.

- C'est dans votre sang.
- Not in my blood.

And, I dare to hope, not in yours.

That is a very fine ruby,

of six carats?

From Ceylon, I believe.

Exquisite colour and clarity,

though, tragically,

it has been cut without much
regards to its structure.

That's not the sort of knowledge
I would expect from a soldier.


I stopped being a soldier to trade fairly.

Not pillage.

Only the Emperor can grant
foreigners a licence to trade.

It has been the Mughal
way for two centuries.

I would be delighted to introduce you.

Well, that would be...

very kind of you.

Of course, His Highness Shah Alam

would consider your trade licence
more seriously if you work for him.

The Emperor values loyalty above all.

Well, thank you.

I shall do my best

to persuade the Emperor that
my intentions are honourable.

Thank you. For the Cognac.

My pleasure.

So, John Beecham.

Is he friend or foe?

He is an agent of the Company.

The first weed sent to
spread and take over Delhi.

The British are never more treacherous

than when they espouse virtue.



They were in this area.



What is happening?

We have never had intruders
in this house before.

How is August settling in?

I will make sure he is safe and happy.

May I?

Dearest August...

I wish I had your peacefulness.


We have been given a new beginning.

For Agastya's sake...

.. we must forget the past.

'A man should not be eating on his own.'

Where is the Saheb's wife?

I saw he has letters from
London in his office.


Maybe she is in England.

A loving wife's touch is
what this empty house needs.

But what will he do with the
beauty who tends the baby?

She has a face so sweet,

even your kheer will need no
sugar if she looks upon it.

One haughty look from her,
and my kheer will curdle.

Baby has wind.

He needs ajwain.

And I need chillies for
this food you are giving me.

My food does not need chillies.

If you are feeding the
baby, the milk will be...

I know my job.

- A cook...
- Not cook. Chef.

No more khichri.

I expect game, chicken,
fish with Mughlai spices.

That is the standard I'm used to.

Of course, Chanchal-bai.

It will be an honour for
Chef to raise his standards

to those of a lady who
appreciates the highest quality.


Are you only here to serve
Beecham-saheb, or his wife too?

You must know the baby's mother.

When might she be coming?

Or maybe she is already here?

Watch your words, cook.

They are even more
poisonous than your food.

She will learn that you cannot
keep secrets in a house like this.


You must be careful in this heat.

You know...

There is not a single day
that I miss being a soldier.

But I miss the sweat.

What happened, Saheb?

Does it pain you?

At times.

It will fade, with time.

And the pain, also.



Good day.

My servants reported you
had intruders last night.

I've come to offer help.

I am Murad Beg. Your neighbour.

I hope you do not object to
me calling on you unannounced.

No, not at all. It's a pleasure.

John Beecham.

I can send some of my guards
to watch over your estate.

An exceptionally kind offer, sir.

Thank you.

I'm hosting a party tomorrow night.

I hope you will honour
us with your presence.

I would be very grateful of an
opportunity to know you better.

Until tomorrow, then.


Will he be a good neighbour?

He is a friend for you, Saheb.

And cousin to our Highness,
the Emperor's wife.

In a garden full of beautiful flowers,

I see your eyes have rested
on the only English rose.

I was, er... I was surprised, that's all.

It is a rarity in Delhi.

Come, I should like to introduce you.

Roshanara, come.

Mr Beecham, this is my
daughter, Roshanara,

and her teacher, Miss Osborne.

Hello, Mr Beecham. Are
you fond of dancing?

Delhi has the prettiest dancing
girls in the whole of India.

I daresay they are.

I believe you are the first Englishman

Miss Osborne has seen in many months.

You're the first Englishwoman
I have seen in several years.

It is a pleasure to
meet you, Miss Osborne.

Where are you from?


A beautiful part of the world.


I miss the countryside, the sea air.

Oh, and the raspberry creams I long for.

My daughter's love for
dancing exceeds all else,

despite Miss Osborne's attempts

to introduce her to English literature.

Miss Osborne is the
finest governess in India.

She's transforming my daughter
into an accomplished lady

and an insurrectionist.

An English insurrectionist
is the very last thing

I expected to find here in Delhi.

Father, I'd like to go
back to the dancing now.

Of course, my dear. Miss Osborne?

Miss Osborne, if I might be so bold, um...

My chef considers himself

an expert in the culinary arts of England.

I'm certain that he would be delighted

to present you with cakes from Devon.

Good evening, Miss Osborne.

Mr Beg.

- What an excellent fete.
- General Castillon.

Thank you for joining
us. This is Mr Beecham.

I've already had the pleasure
of meeting Lieutenant Beecham.

Miss Osborne,

you look particularly
ravishing this evening.

So, has Lieutenant Beecham
told you of his wish

to introduce India's treasures
to the rest of the world?

Without the British East India Company.

In the Emperor's eyes, you will
be tarred with the same brush.

Why would he grant you a trade licence?

Because I also have India's
interests at heart, not just my own.

That is admirable for these times.

The Emperor is dubious about Englishmen.

This is why he prefers the French.

Miss Osborne, it seems
your presence is requested

by Begum Samru-saheba.

Excuse me, gentlemen.

Begum Samru-saheba seems
very fond of Miss Osborne.

It appears she has an interest
in all things European.

She is not to be underestimated.

Begum Samru is a favourite of the Emperor.

He treats her like his own daughter.

General Castillon has kindly offered
to introduce me to the Emperor.

Allow me to do that.
It would be my pleasure.

You seem to be possessed of great fortune.

You have two admirers.

I'm sure you are mistaken.

You must not feel like you
must choose one or the other.

It's far more enjoyable to
sample the delights of both.

'Your Imperial Highness.'

King of Kings.

Your Royal Highness, Prince Akbar.

It gives me great
pleasure to introduce you

to a friend of the court,
Lieutenant John Beecham.

Khush aamdeed, Lieutenant Beecham.

I hope my kinsman has made you welcome.

It is unusual to receive
an Englishman as a guest.

Normally, you arrive
without an invitation.

Your Imperial Highness,

I am humbled by your
presence and your land.

My ancestors have ruled
it for hundreds of years.

They've shed their blood
to keep what is theirs.

I will not allow the
British East India Company

to take what is now mine.

The Company's policy for
expansion is shameful.

I have severed ties with them.

They have no concerns

beyond amassing wealth
for their shareholders.

Bengal was richer than
all the wealth in England

until Clive and Hastings plundered it.

"In a land where the hand of
friendship is taken for the sword,

"I gain solace from the sighs of the quill

"as it gifts its lifeblood to the page."


I have known many an Englishman
that spoke Farsi and Urdu,

but never one that knew my poetry.

Your Imperial Highness, please
do not see me as an enemy.

But General Castillon does.

If the English say "day",
the French say "night".

The numerous wars that we
have waged over the centuries

are not easily forgotten.

Well, let us hope that the next
war is not a battle for Delhi.

For it is said

that he who rules Delhi, rules India.

Your Imperial Highness, I implore you.

Judge me not by my flag,
but by my actions.

I love your country.

And I believe that India
should be governed by Indians.

I wish only to trade honourably

with the beautiful objects
that are made here.

Please, grant me a licence.

Your Imperial Highness,

I see you have met the
new Englishman in Delhi.

Yes. Lieutenant Beecham
is a lover of the arts.

He wishes that I grant
him a free trade licence.

Surely you will not grant it,

knowing the Company have
Delhi in their sights.

Your Imperial Highness,

I am your servant.

A British servant in my palace?

Never in my life

have I been more sad to be blind!

Then serve me, Lieutenant Beecham.

The Empress's birthday approaches.

Find the perfect gift for her,

and maybe you shall have your licence.

Your Highness.

Surely you will not grant it.

General, General.

I know you do not trust him.

Nor do I.

Then, Your Highness, why
offer to grant him a licence?

You forget...

India gave the world chess.

My first move was decisive.

If I refuse Beecham now,

the Company will proceed
with their plans in secret.

We will watch Beecham closely,
until he makes a mistake.

What is all this?

It is English mithai.

You cannot appreciate such culture.

Why is Saheb going to all this trouble?

He's barely been in the city

and has already found an
English lady to bring home.

He's quite chalu, no?

An English lady? Here, to this house?

Our chef, Mool Chand,

has spent all day making special
English puddings for you.

I've heard he is an excellent chef.

So have I.

He tells me every day!

Beecham-saheb is on the way.

Miss Osborne.


Thank you for your invitation, Mr Beecham.

This is a magnificent house.

The courtyards and carvings are exquisite.

And how nice it must be to
sit here under the tree.

I found this swing in the bazaar.

Delhi is full of wonders.

But now, prepare to be transported
from Delhi back home to Devon.

Oh, my, how wonderful!

Shukria, Baadal.

Mool Chand's famous bread pudding.

Scones. Plum pudding.

- And raspberry creams.
- Shukria.

I have yet to see Mool
Chand beam so for a guest.


From Devon.

So buttery!

Look how happy Saheb is.

His is not the face of a
man with a wife somewhere.

At least, not a wife he likes.

I am indebted to you.

For allowing me to reveal myself as
a homesick lady with a sweet tooth.

I perfectly understand what it feels like

to hanker for home comforts.

Murad Beg tells me that
you've been building a chapel.

I should like to see it, if I may.

I would be... delighted to show you.

I did not have an opportunity
to enquire when we met...

what brought you to Delhi?

I wanted a fresh start.

I worked with the East India
Company for many years.

But I left.


I have a conscience.

And you...

A lone woman in Calcutta is a rarity,

but in Delhi...

an impossibility.

My brother travelled to
India to seek his fortunes.

I saw it as an opportunity
to seek adventure.

That is most admirable.

And brave.

Brave, or foolhardy?

He left Delhi abruptly when
he accrued significant debts.

He abandoned you?

I am so sorry.

One becomes accustomed
to the folly of siblings.

Thankfully, Mr Beg was
in need of a governess

when I was most in need of a position.

Your chapel is wonderful.

Well, you are welcome to visit
and pray at your leisure.

Thank you.

I have a request.

If you will.

I know that we have
just met, but I am in...

I am in great need. My mother...

will be arriving in Delhi in a few days.


I would be very grateful if you
could be here when she arrives.

To help her settle.

I know that it would be
a great comfort to her.

And to me.

I would be honoured.

Your mother will be well
taken care of, Saheb.

Do not worry.

Bindu will be her special maid,

Miss Osborne will be her friend,

and the baby will make her happy.


I dreamt of the time we
would be together again.

I feared it would never come, I
had lost you to India forever.

How much I have missed you.

You have turned into a fine gentleman.

The beard sits most
handsomely on your face.

And you are as strong and robust as ever.

Thank the Lord for your safe arrival.

It has been a long and trying journey,

more eventful than a carriage
from London to Bath, I daresay.

Ooh. Violet!

Smelling salts, please.

Of course, Mrs Beecham.

But there are bandits and
highwaymen everywhere,

Mrs Beecham, dear.

I, for one, have enjoyed every
moment of our adventure.

Do you remember Violet?

Oh, you won't remember, but the
last time we met was many years ago.

Violet is Katherine Woodhouse's daughter.

She travelled with me to keep me company.

I should not have survived,
but for her kindness.

I'm very grateful to you, Miss Woodhouse.

I do remember you now,

as a young girl with
pigtails and rosy cheeks.

- I believe you laughed a lot.
- She has a happy disposition,

and kept me entertained
on many a rough night.

Well, I'm very grateful. For
you keeping my mother company.

I thank you, John.

And I'm looking forward to a bath
and making myself presentable.

Well, please.

A hand would be welcome, Lieutenant.


Captain Samuel Parker? What on earth?

Mother, did you know we were acquainted?

I did, indeed.

Captain Parker called on
me in London last year.

- London?
- Yes, he was looking for you.

We met again in the port in Calcutta,

and he insisted on
delivering us safely to you.

My dear old friend, I could not
have planned it better myself.


- Ooh!
- Steady.

Good gracious!

This is beyond all expectation.

This is a palace fit for a queen.

All the British nabobs

are buying enormous estates
like this back home.

Some are even buying Parliament
seats with their Indian fortunes.

Well, why not build a mansion
such as this in Surrey?

Mother, I am not one of those nabobs

that comes to India to prosper and flee.

12 years since you left me.

Barely a word in the last three,

since you became a wandering tinkerman.

But now my fears are all allayed.

Oh, Miss Osborne.

Thank you for coming to greet my mother.

John has been so looking
forward to your arrival.

And how, pray, do you know my son?

I am his neighbour.

Come, Mother, we have prepared
some refreshments for you.

I am so grateful for your
kindness towards my mother.

You cannot imagine how
pleased I am to see you.

The Company was never the same
after you resigned and disappeared.

- I have missed you.
- And I you.

Tell me, what news of England?

It rains.

The Prince of Wales is getting married.

Warren Hastings was acquitted and
the Company got off scot-free.

It's not surprising.

Parliament taking the East India
Company to trial over their misdeeds

was a charade.

The hypocrisy sickens me.

I was called to give evidence
against the Company. You were, too.

But no one knew where to find you.

I received a dishonourable discharge.

They've spread rumours.

They have sullied my name.


I am so sorry.



Please excuse me for just a moment.

Do not worry, dear.

A governess is no competition for you.

John is every bit as handsome and
considerate as you said he was.

I told you that horrific
journey would pay dividends.

It will be a perfect union.

Why did you journey back to India?


I lost any money I made in an investment.

The entire cargo sank when
an Indiaman ran aground.

Future employment in England
is impossible for me,

so my hope is that a Maharaja here will...

I don't know.

Ignore my past.

Or perhaps I'll go out on
my own, follow your example.

John, you have done well.

When I left the Company, Samuel,

I learnt so much about
the trading business

that existed for hundreds of years

before the Europeans
built their monopolies.

You always had an eye
like no other Englishman.

Is there any chance you
might be in need of a worker

who knows the tastes

of the nabobs with new money to burn?

No, I do not need a worker.



I am in great need

of a trustworthy partner.

- Partner?
- It is, I think,

the very least I can do.

This house is as impressive as its owner.

Well, as we agreed, John
is a fine match. Yes?

John, whose baby is that, crying so?

Please, Mother.

Please... wait there.

Why are you holding that child?

He looks...


Are you the father?

Well, who is the mother? Are you...

Are you married?



is August.

August Beecham.

Your grandson.

This is a most peculiar
way to treat an infant.

How could John make no mention
of it before we set sail?

I must admit, Mrs Beecham,

I am shocked by the predicament
your son finds himself in.

As am I, Violet.

I fear I do not know my own son.

Do not lose heart.

He is a kind and loving son.

There is a baby.

There does not seem to be a wife.

I will get to the bottom of this.

John may yet make a fine match for you.

Mother, I did advise you that

now was perhaps not the best time
to come to India, but you insisted.

On the contrary, John, I
wish I had come sooner.

I might have secured your personal life

to be more in keeping with
that of an English gentleman.

Well, now, surely Baadal can
tempt you with something.

You must be so very hungry.

How can you stand to eat
in this insufferable heat?

India does grow on you, Mrs Beecham.

If you give it time.

And you, Miss Woodhouse.
How did you sleep?

- I trust you're comfortable?
- Very comfortable, er, Mr Beecham.

It is a pleasure to be off that boat

and in the comfort of such a fine house.

It is a delight to have your
cheerful disposition grace us here.

Mother, surely there is something I can do

- to ease your settling in.
- Mm.

I should like to see Daniel,

and I pray he is still, at
least, a son I recognise.

I have made several enquiries
of Daniel's whereabouts.

He has either left Calcutta,

or is, indeed, making it very
difficult for me to find him.

Why would he not want to
communicate with his own brother?

Mother, Hindustan is an enormous land.

Our paths have not yet crossed.

Daniel seems very happy

serving in the East India Company.

I was not.

But now that you are here,

I will write to him again,
imploring him to come and see you.

If you will excuse me.

Mrs Beecham. Miss Woodhouse.

- Ma'am...?
- No, no!

I didn't want to get
your mother's hopes up,

as she asked me to seek
your brother out in Calcutta.


I did hear reports he's on a
Company expedition in Kannauj.


That's only a ride away from Delhi.

The ideal position for the
Company to mount an attack.

A British military presence
on Delhi's doorstep

is a direct provocation.

We must be on guard, John.

If General Castillon discovers

your brother's with the
Company in Kannauj,

he will not look on it favourably.


He would, no doubt, inform the Emperor,

and advise him against
granting my trade licence.

Shall we?

Maybe this is Beecham Saheb's wife.

My, my, my, my.

What do we have here?

I am finally able to
afford my passage home.


What are you going to do
when the opium runs out?

If Lieutenant Beecham is
in contact with the Company,

he will pay a severe price.


I have just settled Agastya.

I would appreciate it if you'd
kindly keep your voices down.

I am mistress of this house.

I cannot live like this.

Is she August's mother?