Posted on May 31, 2005

Harem Role for Martine

Irish Examiner, May 29, 2005

Martine McCutcheon has landed a TV role in a new romantic drama about Islam.

She will star opposite Art Malik in ITV’s The English Harem.

McCutcheon plays a supermarket checkout girl who falls in love with a Muslim restaurant owner and marries him — despite the fact he already has two wives.

The other wives encourage the marriage but her parents are appalled and her racist ex-boyfriend plots to get her back.

It is the first major acting role for McCutcheon since she played a Downing Street tea lady in 2003 film Love Actually.

The former EastEnders star, 29, recently announced a guest appearance in BBC spy drama Spooks.

The English Harem is based on the novel by Anthony McCarten.

Malik, 52, star of Holby City and A Passage To India, said “This is a wonderful opportunity to explore a modern day, mixed race, contemporary love story.

“The difference in background and age between the two central characters makes it original and enticing.”

ITV drama controller Nick Elliot said: “The English Harem is a charming and highly original film. It is timely in that it explores the Muslim community.

“The great thrill is to get both Art Malik and Martine McCutcheon back on to ITV.”