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Encyclopedia > The Jewel in the Crown

The Jewel in the Crown is a British television drama series produced by Granada Television for ITV and based on the Raj Quartet novels by Paul Scott.

The programme was shot on 16mm film, much of it on location in India. The difficulties of storing film in tropical conditions may go some way toward accounting for its grainy picture quality, although most of the interior scenes were filmed in England. Fortunately the strength of the storyline tends to outweigh its technical limitations.

The series is often mentioned in the same breath as Brideshead Revisited, and since both programmes were made by the same company reruns of both series usually turn up on the same channel.

The series made stars of Art Malik and Charles Dance. Other leading actors included Peggy Ashcroft (who won the BAFTA Best TV Actress award for her performance), Tim Pigott-Smith, Geraldine James and Judy Parfitt. However, the complexities of the plot ensured that no one character was at the centre of the action throughout, and, thanks to a flashback in the final part, only Ronald Merrick appeared in every episode.

In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, The Jewel in the Crown was placed 22nd.

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