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Is The Singapore Grip based on a true story?

13 September 2020, 19:30

The Singapore Grip is on ITV this autumn
The Singapore Grip is on ITV this autumn.

Picture:
ITV


What is the inspiration behind new drama The Singapore Grip? Here’s what we know…

The Singapore Grip is a TV adaptation of J.G. Farrell’s 1978 novel.

It tells the story of a British family living in Singapore in World War Two during the Japanese invasion and is described as ‘epic and ambitious’.

Starring the likes of Luke Treadaway, David Morrissey and Jane Horrocks, it is set to be a big hit with viewers this autumn.

But what is the true story behind The Singapore Grip? Here’s what we know…

The Singapore Grip is not based on a true story.

Picture:
ITV


Is The Singapore Grip based on a true story?

The Singapore Grip is not based on a true story, with the characters entirely made up in J.G. Farrell’s 1978 novel.

But the setting in Singapore is based on true events that took place during the war.

Read More: The heartbreaking true story behind Windrush scandal drama Sitting In Limbo

Screenwriter Christopher Hampton told Heart.co.uk and other press: “There’s a whole historial strand of it which is truthfully told.

“It is very densely and carefully researched and Tom Vaughan (director) went out to Vietnam and Singapore.

“A great deal of it is authentic, but all the characters are invented and inserted into reality.”

The setting in Singapore is based on true events that took place during the war
The setting in Singapore is based on true events that took place during the war.

Picture:
ITV


What happens in The Singapore Grip?

J.G. Farrell’s The Singapore Grip was published in 1978, a year before his death.

The novel is based on a British family who control one of the colony’s leading trading companies.

It follows their story in the aftermath of Japan’s entry into the Second World War and the invasion of South East Asia and Singapore.

Revolving around main character Matthew Webb (played by Luke Treadaway), he is described as a ‘reluctant hero and innocent abroad’.

Working with him, Walter Blackett (David Morrissey) is a ‘ruthless rubber merchant’ who is head of British Singapore’s oldest and most powerful firm alongside his business partner Mr Webb (Charles Dance).

With Webb’s health failing, Walter want to make sure his firm’s future is secure, so decides Webb’s son Matthew is the perfect match for his spoiled daughter Joan (Georgia Blizzard).

But Matthew then falls under the spell of mysterious Chinese refugee Vera Chiang (Elizabeth Tan).

The Singapore Grip is airing on ITV this autumn
The Singapore Grip is airing on ITV this autumn.

Picture:
ITV


Speaking about the novel screenwriter Christopher said: “As a great admirer and, eventually, a friend of J.G.Farrell, I was delighted to be invited to adapt The Singapore Grip, a panoramic account of the disastrous loss of Singapore to the Japanese invaders in 1942.

“Close analysis of this great novel has only deepened my enthusiasm for the skill with which Farrell has combined the private story of the machinations, commercial and amorous, of the Blackett family and their struggle – described with Farrell’s trademark subversive wit – to preserve and expand their prosperous rubber business with the unfolding of the cataclysmic events to which they remain totally oblivious until it’s too late.

“Matthew Webb, our bespectacled protagonist, an idealistic innocent abroad, lands in the middle of all this, to find himself fiercely pursued by two beautiful women – an English heiress and a Chinese adventurer – and his story, with its tumultuous backdrop, is told in a style with echoes of Tolstoy and Evelyn Waugh, but still, unmistakably, the unique voice of Jim Farrell.”

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