Drama | The Indian Doctor (2010)

As the title suggests, the drama is about an Indian doctor, Dr Prem Sharma, played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, who leaves Delhi with his wife for the UK as part of the influx of Indian doctors recruited for the NHS by the health minister, Enoch Powell. But instead of being sent to the bright lights of London as they had hoped, the couple end up at a small coal-mining village in Wales, much to the dismay of Dr. Sharma’s glamorous but haughty wife, Kamini (Ayesha Dharker).

One would imagine this to be a drama about immigration and racism, but it’s actually quite a charming, humorous story depicting a naive kind of ignorance about race and culture from both sides.The locals are a curious bunch and although they hold prejudices, they are not unwelcoming to the Sharmas.

The main plot of the drama revolves around Richard Sharp (Mark Williams), the English colliery manager, and his interest in a missing diary that belonged to the previous GP. When Sharp befriends him in at attempt to retrieve it from the surgery, Sharma learns that the late GP recorded details linking the terrible conditions of the mine to the unusually high rates of lung disease in the village in this diary. With the help of Megan Evans, whose husband is dying of lung disease, Sharma is determined to bring Sharp to justice and save the miners. But first he must overcome the obstacle of gaining the trust of the locals, which proves to be more difficult than he expected. It’s quite a simple plot, but has a few sub-plots to build around the skeleton of the main story, such as the tense relationship between Sharma and Kamini, Kamini’s inability to integrate into the village life, Kamini’s friendship with a boy from a broken home who has learning difficulties and the romance between Sharma’s secretary, Gina, and Megan’s step-son, Tom.

This was really enjoyable drama, with lovely cinematography and great acting. My favourite character had to be Kamini – beautiful and glamorous she may be, but Kamini is a complete snob and is just as openly prejudiced against the locals as they are against her, perhaps even more so. But as the story goes on and more of her character is revealed, the audience warms to her as she begins to show compassion and puts her outspokenness to good use. Dr Sharma on the other hand, although a likeable character, is not as three dimensional a character as Kamini and, in comparison, is a little bit boring.

Nevertheless, it was a great drama and I’m glad there will be another series. The ending was left quite open-ended, so I’m looking forward to seeing how each of the story-lines unfold in the second series next year.

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