By: Mohnish Singh
British Asian actress Parminder Nagra, known for her role in Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and US medical drama ER, has signed on to star in a new ITV crime drama series, titled DI Ray.
The actress is set to play the lead character of police officer Rachita Ray in the series. Her character takes on a case that forces her to confront a personal conflict between her British identity and her South Asian heritage through the underworld of Birmingham, reports a publication. Nagra said she is looking forward to getting back to the UK for the project.
Set in Birmingham, DI Ray is a four-part series that comes from Maya Sondhi and Jed Mercurio, the pair behind Line of Duty. It will track a murder investigation whilst exploring the emotive subject of racism in the workplace. It asks difficult questions about what it is like to be British but feel like the ‘other’, while taking viewers through the murky underworld of Birmingham.
DI Ray is penned by Sondhi. As a British Asian woman from Birmingham, this upcoming project is deeply personal for her, she said. “It is only in the past 10 years or so I have really been able to truly embrace my heritage. So much of this show is my story and in telling it honestly, I hope others from all different backgrounds will relate,” the writer said.
Alex Pillai, who has directed episodes of Bridgerton and Riverdale, is onboard to direct the series and Charlotte Surtees will produce, with Mercurio set to executive produce via his HTM Television alongside Black Mirror’s Madonna Baptiste.
“Everyone at HTM Television is thrilled to be collaborating with writer Maya Sondhi, director Alex Pillai and star Parminder Nagra on such a thought-provoking series. DI Ray is first and foremost a thriller, while Maya’s writing poses complex and timely questions about the nature of personal ethnic identity,” said Mercurio.
The team is looking at filming in the UK’s Midlands later this year.