Julie Walters Joins Cast of Channel 4, PBS Drama 'Indian Summers'

Julie Walters

The Oscar-nominated actress adds star power to the series, set to air in the U.S. in 2015.

Julie Walters, who is set to receive a BAFTA Fellowship at next month's Arqiva British Academy Television Awards ceremony, has joined the cast of Channel 4’s 10-part epic TV drama Indian Summers.

The series is set against the sweeping grandeur of the Himalayas and among the tea plantations of Northern India and is being pitched as a sort of Indian Empire Downton Abbey, telling the story of the decline of the British Empire and the birth of modern India from both sides of the experience.

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Waters, who received Oscar nominations for her roles in Billy Elliot (2000) and Educating Rita (1983) and played Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will play Cynthia, a 60-something widow who is the doyenne of the Royal Club of British expats and a force to be reckoned with. By the sound of it, the role could be the kind of juicy part equivalent to Maggie Smith's Golden Globe-winning performance as Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey.

Walters joins fellow Harry Potter movie franchise alumni Henry Lloyd-Hughes (The Inbetweeners) in the cast, alongside Jemima West (The Borgias), Nikesh Patel (Bedlam), Roshan Seth (A Passage to India) and Lillete Dubey (Monsoon Wedding). The drama will air on PBS' Masterpiece in the U.S. next year.

Also joining the Indian Summers cast are Alexander Cobb (Mr Selfridge), Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty), Fiona Glascott (Episodes), Amber Rose Revah (What Remains), Aysha Kala (Shameless), Olivia Grant (Legacy) and Edward Hogg (The Borgias).

Filming is scheduled for this summer, with the show due to be broadcast on Channel 4 and PBS in 2015.

Indian Summers marks the first Channel 4 commission from New Pictures and is a co-production with Masterpiece on PBS.

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The 10-part series is created and written by Paul Rutman (Vera) and will premiere with a 90-minute episode directed by Anand Tucker, with the following episodes running 60 minutes.

Dan McCulloch (Endeavour) produces, while executive producers are Charlie Pattinson (Shameless), Elaine Pyke (Mad Dogs) and Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece on PBS. Indira Varma is co-executive producer.

Commissioned by Piers Wenger and Beth Willis for Channel 4, Indian Summers will be distributed internationally by All3M International.