A Touch of Eastern Promise – Radio Times

ATEP Radio Times article







ATEP Radio Times
















Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

This Radio Times interview with Tara Prem was published in February 1973. The article publicizes the 30′ drama, A Touch of Eastern Promise, written by Tara, which was the first British television film with an entirely Asian cast. The Radio Times does not mention this fact, but concentrates on the similarities of the Bollywood film industry and the Hollywood film industry. The film was set in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, and tells the story of Mohan, and his obsession with a Bollywood film star – Shalini. It was produced by David Rose and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.


A Touch of Eastern Promise – Tara Prem

ATOEP conf film from pebblemill on Vimeo.

In this video interview Tara Prem talks about writing the 1973, 30′ film, A Touch Of Eastern Promise. Script editor, Barry Hanson, also talks about how the film was made. The producer was David Rose, and Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the director. This single drama was the first film on British television with an entirely Asian cast. It tells the story of a young man, Mohan, who dreams about Bollywood films, and particularly a glamorous actress, who is coming to sing in Birmingham that evening. It is a film about dreams in contrast to reality, and explores what it means to live in immigrant communities in British cities in the 1970s.


A Touch of Eastern Promise

A Touch of Eastern Promise

A Touch of Eastern Promise 1973 – Tara Prem

A Touch of Eastern Promise 1973














I’m half Indian, so I was always very anxious to reflect what I saw when I went up to Birmingham.  I wrote a film called A Touch of Eastern Promise, because when I went there I realised there were loads and loads of Indian people, not probably as many as there are now, but nothing was being done about it, and there weren’t any writers.  So Barry was script editor, because I said I wanted to write something, so I did and that was the first thing on British television ever to have an entirely Asian cast.  So I felt very proud about that as well.  But that also spun on to other things.  Michael Abbensetts came and wrote Empire Road, which Peter [Ansorge] produced, and I do think that it was quite new then, but it was very, very apparent in Birmingham – it opened a door really.   In a way it’s what Peter and I are still kicking at the same door of thirty years later.  It’s a bit sad in a way. But it was rather good that we had that opportunity.  So those sort of things I do feel quite proud of.  I do think it kicked open a door.

Tara Prem

(Excerpt from an interview with Tara Prem recorded in summer 2009 by Vanessa Jackson and Olivia Swinscoe from Birmingham City University).

A Touch of Eastern Promise was recorded in Balsall Heath Birmingham.  Michael Lindsay-Hogg was the director, David Rose the producer, Barry Hanson the script editor, Tara Prem the writer.  Mike Williams was the cameraman and Oliver White the film editor.

The cast included Dev Sagoo as Mohan, a young Indian boy who dreams of film stars, and in particular ‘Shalini’, who is coming to perform in Birmingham.  Jamila Massey played Shalini, Zareen Kamal played Lata, K.S. Matharu played Balraj Kumari, and Charan Kaur Matharu – Mrs Kumari.

Oliver White (Editor) – His Unreliable Memoirs – A Touch of Eastern Promise

A Touch of Eastern Promise by Tara Prem, directed by nice Michael Lindsay-Hogg

It was ok I guess, but all that matters is Michael’s WATCH.  It was wafer thin, and curved round his wrist.  The winder was a jewel.  It had cost £800, and been given him by The Beatles for directing ‘Let It Be’.  When going on holiday he’d rung the suppliers, Cartier, and asked, ‘Is it shock-proof?’  ‘Oh no sir.’  ‘Is it waterproof?’  ‘Certainly NOT sir.  Please regard it as a piece of jewellery…’