Posted: 22:31 GMT, Jan. December 2020 | Updated: 10:31 PM GMT, Jan. December 2020

Stuck in the Himalayas, British nuns living in a crumbling palace where the former local ruler had kept his harem, were slowly going mad for pent-up passion about a handsome English man

What is not to love? This new retelling of Black Narcissus, the 1939 novel by Rumer Godden that was turned into an Oscar-winning film with Deborah Kerr in 1947, is utterly compelling from the scenery to the simmering sexual tension

The film was banned in Ireland, censored in America and described by Martin Scorsese as “one of the first truly erotic films”

We’re not that easily shocked now, but the new three-part BBC1 series retains much of its appeal (produced by Andrew Macdonald, grandson of co-director Emeric Pressburger of the 1947 film) and adds modern touches added as filming in the Himalayas and with Nepalese actors instead of English ones who pretend to be Nepalese

Rumer Godden’s 1939 novel Black Narcissus was remade for a BBC1 three-part series. Pictured from left: Sisters Ruth, Clodagh and Adela

It’s a story of understated, burning passion BAFTA winner Amanda Coe, best known for sensual dramas like Apple Tree Yard and The Trial Of Christine Keeler, says it was the first show she wrote that her kids but it’s also the most subtle, erotic, twisted thing I’ve ever seen worked on

‘It’s very much about sexual oppression, and that makes it incredibly erotic.It’s a very heightened world of forbidden desires.It’s also a bit like the horror movie The Shining, but with nuns because they’re in this very isolated place and everyone starts to go crazy easily ‘

The story takes place in 1934 when a group of Catholic nuns from St. Faith Order established a mission and school in the remote cliff-top palace of Mopu, which was once the home of the women where concubines had lived

You were invited by the UK-trained General Toda Rai (Kulvinder Ghir), whose family owns the palace and who is the son of the ruler who owned the harem

Toda’s sister Princess Srimati also fell to her death there and he would like to free the place from its ghosts and educate the local people

When the sisters arrived, there was already a failed attempt by German monks to set up a base, who were forced to leave the base after five months. The locals are not openly hostile, but not that interested

The very British way the nuns do things seems to have no place there One of the first things they do is cover up erotic paintings on the walls while symbolically breaking off the head of their Jesus statue

Gemma Arterton, who plays Sister Clodagh, said the series is about the nuns reconnecting with their true selves Pictured: mother Dorothea and father Roberts

The women are led by the ambitious sister Clodagh, played by Gemma Arterton, but her devotion to God is starting to wiggle quickly

The nuns are not supposed to be influenced by beauty – including nature – but the size of the Himalayas affects them all.Then there’s the boastfully rude but devastatingly handsome atheist Mr. Dean, who works for the general and helps the nuns settle in

Played by Alessandro Nivola, he turns the head not only of Sister Clodagh, who is determined to fight her attraction for him, but also of Sister Ruth (played by Aisling Franciosi with wonderfully manic threat)

“If you become a nun, you have to free yourself from your past and create yourself anew. But this is about these nuns reconnecting with their true selves

‘Clodagh Fights Her Real Self. She’s that wild, impulsive, romantic rebel, but that got her into trouble and became a nun.

‘One rule of the order is that they are not allowed to look at things unless they have to, but they are in a nice place and can’t help but look. Then the real Clodagh comes through’

American actor Alessandro announced that Mr. Dean gets along poorly with Sister Clodagh at first, but he can’t help but find her appealing. Pictured: Alessandro Nivola as Mr Dean

Here he’s not just an intruder who comes in contact with all of his testosterone, he’s a damaged man himself, a WWI veteran who did his best to get away from England and all it stands for

“In the film he is just a catalyst to wreak havoc, but in our series based on the book he has had traumatic experiences himself,” says American actor Alessandro, who is married to English actress Emily Mortimer

“He’s very gruff and almost takes pleasure in insulting people”He’s kind of disgusted with the arrogance of the English and for him the Catholic mission in the palace represents everything that is wrong

One of the keys to understanding Mr. Dean is his hat, which he calls “Old Felty” Alessandro Nivola discovered the perfect hat in a second-hand shop in New York

The nuns’ linen costumes were all handcrafted by now, and for the actresses they immediately gave a sense of what it must be like to give up both your body and your soul

“The physicality of the costume was important to us,” says Gemma Arterton, who, like the other actresses, spent time with real nuns doing research

“When you wear a pennant you feel like everything is constricted”Your ears are covered, you can barely see your face and you have a veil

‘So it’s blinking and you can’t be really expressive. Once I started playing Sister Clodagh, I felt very tight’

“At first he gets along badly with Sister Clodagh. But they are like a mirror image of each other. Both are heartbroken and afraid of their own vulnerability

‘She opted for an extremely religious life while he opted for a fragmented bachelorette party that didn’t ask him to feel anything.But he’s instantly drawn to Clodagh, there’s something about her that he’s no different may be found as appealing ‘

Meanwhile, Sister Ruth is watching this burgeoning romance with more than a hint of the green-eyed monster. She is intrigued by the story of the doomed Srimati

She struggles with chronic insomnia, loosens threateningly, and begins to imagine that she is haunted by the doomed princess

“Ruth does not pursue this calling,” says Aisling. “She can get angry very quickly and find it difficult to control her emotions”

‘I was very keen not to caricature them; I wanted her to feel like a real person, so it would be understandable that she ended up where she did ’

You aren’t the only ones struck by the heady atmosphere, and it’s no surprise mother Dorothea (played by Diana Rigg in her final television role) hesitated at the nunnery in Darjeeling, India along with father Roberts (Jim Broadbent ) to let them go to the palace

Sister Blanche (Patsy Ferran) loves the small children dangerously in her care Sister Philippa (Karen Bryson) is obsessed with gardening out of the wilderness, while even sensible sister Briony (Rosie Cavaliero) is at a loss

When Sister Adela (Gina McKee) shows up, she is shocked by what has become of the order. Meanwhile, the housekeeper of the palace, Angu Ayah (Nila Aalia), can only watch – she has seen the madness there always has found its way back

While almost the entire group filmed in the Himalayas for three weeks – a dangerous experience as it took four air trips to reach the set and some of the cast suffered from altitude sickness – most of it was filmed at Pinewood Studios, where the original film was shot

The author Rumer Godden was not a fan of the film Black Narcissus because it was not shot in the Himalayas. Pictured: A scene from the BBC series

“I was at a meeting with the BBC when they said they were planning a new adaptation of Black Narcissus and I said nobody else should do it but me,” says producer Andrew Macdonald of his work by Trainspotting and The Beach include

“The film was made because my grandmother loved the book. Rumer Godden, who grew up in India, wasn’t a fan of the film, and one of her complaints was that it wasn’t shot in the Himalayas

‘So it was important for us to go there and use real Nepalese. Rumer’s family was also very keen on us doing it over so people would come back to the book – it’s brilliant – and their great granddaughter even as part of ours Crew worked ‘

The exterior of the palace, based on the exploration of Hindu palaces, was built at Bovingdon, a disused airfield in Hertfordshire, while the interiors at Pinewood were made from real Nepalese woodwork

And while elements of the film were included, the producers wanted to make sure this series stood on its own

“It’s interesting to look at it in modern terms,” ​​says Andrew. “And it’s just a brilliant story of passion, horror and erotic’

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World News – GB – Convincing TV remake of Oscar winner Black Narcissus