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Director Gurinder Chadha calls for better education on Britain's colonial past after writing ITV drama Beecham House

The award-winning director of the iconic film, Bend It Like Beckham, is calling for young people to be better educated about Britain's colonial past.

Gurinder Chadha has stepped away from films to direct a new six-part TV drama, which tells the story of how India became part of the British empire.

She filmed much of Beecham House in India and said she has long waited to tell a story around the East India company - which was set up to trade in the region but ended up controlling huge parts of the subcontinent - with an army of thousands.

She told ITV News that schools are frightened of telling the truth about colonialism and said bringing this story to the big screen is her way of getting the message across.

Ms Chadha said: "One of the most shocking things for me is to talk to young people and what their studying in history.

"And a lot of young people don't even know that Britain had an empire because the British empire is not taught in schools and perhaps one of the reasons it's not taught is actually it's quite an uncomfortable period in British history.

"People haven't sort of dealt with how to talk about some of the injustices that have happened."

Filming of the ITV show Beecham House in East India. Credit: ITV News

Beecham House is set at the end of the 18th Century when the East Indian company was there buying for power over India's riches.

It is part of Britain's colonial past at the drama's director and writer was determined to bring to the screen.

Ms Chadha told ITV news discussing colonialism through drama is better as it's done in a healthy manner.

She said: "Owning up to your past does not necessarily have to be a negative thing and in Beecham House I don't want to hold a big stick and say 'bad, bad,' because that's going to turn off my audience."

"I think there are ways of having these discussions and drama is one way to do it," she added.

Historian William Dalrymple is backing Ms Chadha's calls for children to learn more about colonialism in school.

Historian William Dalrymple also calls for children to be educated about colonialism. Credit: ITV News

He told ITV News that knowing about Britian's colonialist past has never been more important.

"Brexit is a moment where the British are examining where they are, who they are and where their history is and if we, out of this we come to a more realistic understanding of the pros and cons of our imperial past then that's a good thing."