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Thursday 31 Jul 2014

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BBC One Daytime swings into the Sixties with new drama and documentary series

BBC One Daytime will be marking the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Swinging Sixties with an original new drama, and a week-long series of special factual programmes looking back at the decade.

The Indian Doctor (working title), a new drama series starring Sanjeev Bhaskar, tells the story of Dr Prem Sharma, one of the thousands of doctors who – encouraged by Enoch Powell – moved from the Indian Sub-Continent to the UK to begin new lives.

Rewind The 60s (working title) explores the social changes and major news events that took place in the decade.

Both programmes have been commissioned by BBC Daytime Controller, Liam Keelan.

Talking about the commissions, Liam Keelan says: "The story of the doctors who came to the UK from the Indian Sub-Continent is one that hasn't been widely told, so it's really exciting to be able to commission The Indian Doctor, this new original drama, for BBC One Daytime.

"This commission builds on the number of dramas that BBC One Daytime has already commissioned and shown over the last 18 months – Land Girls, Missing, and Moving On – in addition to the continuing drama Doctors which this March celebrates its 10th anniversary."

He adds: "Rewind The 60s will be an entertaining look back at the decade, while also examining the key stories and looking at the huge social change that took place, ensuring that the programme will be a popular watch for our viewers."

The Indian Doctor (working title)

In 1963 Enoch Powell, Minister of Health, promised high wages and a glamorous lifestyle, funded by the NHS, to a generation of highly-educated doctors from the Indian Sub-Continent. Many, bringing their wives and families in tow, sailed for Britain, but many didn't get the dream job they were hoping for.

The Indian Doctor tells the story of Dr Prem Sharma, a high-flying Delhi graduate, who comes to the UK as part of the first wave of doctors wooed by Enoch Powell.

Prem wants to build a new life for himself following a family tragedy, and his ambition is to become a Harley Street consultant, or, at the very least to work in a top London hospital. It's only when he arrives in the UK that he realises quite how far the Rhondda in South Wales is from the West End.

But, although he has to come to terms with a life different to the one he expected, his arrival in the Rhondda is also significant for the community. As a fresh pair of eyes, Prem exposes a scandal affecting the health of the coal miners that many knew was happening, but chose to ignore.

Rewind The 60s (working title)

Rewind The 60s looks at the huge social change, creative innovation and historic importance that made the Swinging Sixties what it was.

Across the week key stories of the decade will be brought back to life through archive film, and by the stories of the people that were there, along with the music, TV, culture and artefacts from the era.

The series will have a studio base and will be hosted by a presenter (to be confirmed) who will, each day, be joined by a different celebrity guest to give their anecdotes from the era.

The Indian Doctor (working title) is being made by Rondo Media and Avatar Films and the executive producers are Tom Ware for Rondo Media, Deep Sehgal for Avatar Films and Gerard Melling for the BBC.

Rewind The 60s (working title) is being made by BBC productions in Bristol, and the executive producers are Pete Lawrence and Gerard Melling.

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