Tennant added, “We’ve been working hard on the hype and the leaks.”
Pharoah, who has traveled east from Europe to Yemen, India, Hong Kong, the Pacific and the West and East coasts of the United States before returning to London, said the show’s narrative arc was shaped by the traveler’s route. (Except for the short scenes shot in London, filming was done in South Africa, which is called the “hot countries”, and Romania, which is used for the European and North American scenes.)
“Research was often about finding something that actually happened in those countries that year,” Pharoah said, referring to 1872. One where India and Bass Reeves court a white prisoner.
“Each episode is in a different country and has a separate storyline, so they’re almost like mini movies,” said Pharoah. “It was very ambitious for television because, from a design standpoint, you had to create every episode from scratch.”
When it was suggested that telling a story set in colonial Britain might be a sensitive topic today, Tennant said from a 21st century perspective “you have to admit that this is nothing to celebrate”.
He added: “I think that’s part of Fogg’s journey – to realize that the world he lives in isn’t the world it should be. And you have Passepartout who looks at everything with an eyebrow raised, another lens into colonial history. I think people will go, that’s history with mixed feelings,” he added. It’s a time when we are.”
Then he grinned, settled back in his chair and looked out over the beautiful garden. “But everyone loves a period drama!”