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The English Harem (2005)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | Romance  -  27 December 2005 (UK)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 79 users  
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Martine McCutcheon plays a young working class girl, Tracy, who - against the wishes of her parents and racist ex-boyfriend - becomes one of three wives of West London Persian restaurateur, Sam (Art Malik).

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tracy Pringle
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Tom Georgeson ...
Eric Pringle
...
Monica Pringle
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Ridley
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Sebastian Partridge
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Yvette Sahar
Nathalie Armin ...
Firouzeh Sahar
...
Richard
...
Suzy (as Loo Brealey)
...
Emily
...
Lenny
Antonio Josephides ...
Mostafa Sahar
Gary Lammin ...
Store Manager
...
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Storyline

Kensington supermarket cash register clerk Tracy Pringle looses her job for daydreaming about the romantic Orient. Sass and the fruit of fascination for the East get her employed as salesclerk in rich, sophisticated Iranien ex-pat Saaman "Sam" Sahar's exclusive vegetarian restaurant and soon wins his sensual, yet not sexual attention. Her boyfriend Richar, whom she dumps after a blatant infidelity, tries to turn the authorities on them after discovering he has a 'harem' consisting of a legal wife and two mundane Iranian 'consort' ladies, actually more protégées. Written by KGF Vissers

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

27 December 2005 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

Great premise, disappointing result.
30 December 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Martine Mccutcheon, that cute Londoner, in three-in-a-bed romps with Art Malik and two other women? I'm there!" Yep, this was the advance publicity for this drama, that Tiffany from Eastenders would finally shed her inhibitions and join the ranks of those who had 'exposed' themselves on screen. Unfortunately for those who might have built their hopes up, the part in question is a dream sequence and lasts for all of five seconds. Oh, and all the participants are fully clothed. So you can open the curtains now, and put away the Vaseline, as you won't be needing it. Never mind..

To get to the main thrust of the plot.. Martine plays Tracy Pringle, a frustrated checkout girl who has dreams of living in the Far East. Sacked for being inattentive, she looks for another job and soon ends up as a waitress at an Persian restaurant owned by Iraqi Sam (Art Malik) and his two wives. At first, things are a bit strained between the couple but, encouraged by Sam's wives, a bond starts to develop between them.. Ultimately leading to marriage and becoming the third member of the harem. Sadly, Tracy's parents and her racist ex-boyfriend aren't exactly thrilled at the news, and scheme to win her back. Can love conquer all??

Based on a book, the plot of this sounds absolutely fascinating and, combined with the heavy trailering around the festive period, almost certainly has made it a Christmas hit. The treatment however, is nothing short of conventional, as the characters have all the depth of those in a soap opera. Key among these is Tracy's ex-partner, who has no distinguishing traits other than the ability to act like a complete bigoted idiot. It is very difficult to muster much interest in such boring people, and what started out as a fascinating expose of culture clashes quickly turns into a predictable melodrama as Sam meets with a nasty accident, and Tracy must save his children from an overzealous social worker. Special mention must also go to the ending, which manages to be stupid, implausible and insulting all at the same time. On the bright side, Martine's Cockney charm shines though, and the two other members of the harem are certainly hotties. Perhaps if things don't pick up for them career-wise, they will consider starring in something along the lines of the first paragraph. Now that really would be worth waiting for.. 4/10


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