Vinay Patel: “Demons of the Punjab Could Open Up the Discussion on Partition”

Good drama often leads to a discussion about its themes, and that’s what screenwriter, Vinay Patel hopes for last night’s episode of Doctor WhoDemons of the Punjab.

The episode, set in 1947, saw Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) visit her grandmother during the Partition, where the division of India into three provinces led to the displacement of millions. But how do you condense such an historic event into a single serial? Patel shared those worries:

“If there was one thing keeping me up at night more than anything, it was figuring out how to tell this story in a way that didn’t feel like it was disrespectful of the seriousness of it. In one way, you need to show violence and horror graphically in order for it to stick with people.

“For now, Demons of the Punjab could be a way of opening the discussion, to bring the story out to a larger public and the ramifications of partition that still affect the subcontinent to this day.”

And as you can imagine, a lot of research went into the episode. Patel explains:

“I used a lot of original sources stored at the British Library, but also looked at some Indian sources as well. I had a range of history books written about it so I looked at British and Indian historians for that. There’s a wealth of literature from that time.

“I made sure I did all my factual stuff first obviously, but also tried to get into the feeling of those characters. I just basically immersed myself in stories that were around it.”

What did you think of Demons of the Punjab? Vote in our poll, and keep a look out for the DWC’s upcoming review!

Doctor Who continues on 18th November 2018 with Kerblam!