It is extremely rare even in these globally cultural streaming obsessed times to come across historical dramas set in Singapore. But that’s exactly what The Singapore Grip is.
Adapting J.G. Farrell’s satirical 1978 novel about the fall of Singapore during World War II, this TV series works hard to be as historically accurate as possible. I love period dramas as it provides me with glimpses into the past not possible without a time machine. These productions also demonstrate the admirable skill, craft and ingenuity of creators in evoking a particular moment in time.
But the other more personal reason why I was interested in the Singapore Grip is because my late Dad would have loved this. My father was 16 when Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942 and this series would have been akin to re-living his past. Alas, not to be….
British productions are also intriguing as British actors are quite well known due to their prominence in American productions. On The Singapore Grip, we have Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and Colm Meaney (Star Trek : The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine) to grant us this vital familiarity. Luke Treadaway, Elizabeth Tan and Georgia Blizzard inject a more youthful vigour to the proceedings though.
The first episode was definitely engaging as I watched intently at all the settings and locations to figure out where exactly The Singapore Grip was shot. Well, considering how overly modernised Singapore is, the series was shot in Malaysia, naturally. Looked authentic to me in any case. The costume design was excellent and the actors did a good job in conveying the mood of the times.
Set six months before the British surrender on my birthday in 1942, the first episode has definitely got me interested in the remainder of the series.
… still there’s more …