The Singapore Grip leaves viewers ‘switching off’ as they bemoan ‘bizarre’ first episode

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It follows in the footsteps of Downton Abbey and The Durrells as ITV’s latest Sunday evening period drama – but The Singapore Grip has failed to win over viewers with its first episode.

The premiere, which aired last night, left audiences at home ‘switching off’ and complaining about the ‘bizarre’ storyline – with many admitting that they’ve ‘already given up’ trying to work out what’s going on.

Set during the Second World War, the adaptation of JG Farrell’s 1978 satirical novel mocking British colonial attitudes follows a family living in Singapore when the Japanese army invade the city.

The episode started in the thick of fighting, with outlier Matthew Webb (Luke Treadaway) caught up in the Battle of Singapore, desperately searching for an unnamed woman – but viewers were left unimpressed and confused by shifting timelines. 

‘The Singapore Grip is quite flat so far,’ one person tweeted, with the show then tracing backwards to Matthew’s arrival in the city as the son of a powerful aristocrat (Game of Throne’s Charles Dance) who is quickly caught up in the schemes of the Blackett family.

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It follows in the footsteps of Downton Abbey and The Durrells as ITV's new six-part period drama - but The Singapore Grip  has failed to win over viewers with its first episode. Pictured, the Blackett family and guests appearing shocked by their evening entertainment

It follows in the footsteps of Downton Abbey and The Durrells as ITV’s new six-part period drama – but The Singapore Grip  has failed to win over viewers with its first episode. Pictured, the Blackett family and guests appearing shocked by their evening entertainment

Set during the Second World War, the adaptation of JG Farrell’s 1978 satirical novel mocking British colonial attitudes follows a family living in Singapore when the Japanese army invade the city. Pictured, Mr Blackett's daughter causing a scene with her potential love interest

Set during the Second World War, the adaptation of JG Farrell’s 1978 satirical novel mocking British colonial attitudes follows a family living in Singapore when the Japanese army invade the city. Pictured, Mr Blackett’s daughter causing a scene with her potential love interest

The premiere, which aired last night, left audiences at home 'switching off' and complaining about the 'bizarre' storyline - with many admitting that they've 'already given up' trying to work out what's going on (pictured)

The premiere, which aired last night, left audiences at home ‘switching off’ and complaining about the ‘bizarre’ storyline – with many admitting that they’ve ‘already given up’ trying to work out what’s going on (pictured)

Another viewer added: ‘I’ve already given up on The Singapore Grip. Couldn’t get into it, despite a strong cast. Need another Downton Abbey or The Durrells for the perfect Sunday night viewing to get me watching.’

‘I can’t be alone in not having a clue about what’s happening? It’s bizarre,’ a third unimpressed Twitter user wrote.

‘I was quite looking forward to this series, but I am really struggling to get into the first episode,’ another said. 

While a fifth wrote: ‘Managed the first 30 minutes of #TheSingaporeGrip (although 20 of those were under sufferance). I certainly shan’t be bothering with any more.’ 

Based on the 1978 novel by JG Farrell, which drew on real events, The Singapore Grip is initially the story of rich Brits living lives of excess in the Crown colony in the early 1940s.

The episode started in the thick of fighting, with outlier Matthew Webb (pictured, Luke Treadaway) caught up in the Battle of Singapore, desperately searching for an unnamed woman - but viewers were left unimpressed as the drama continued

The episode started in the thick of fighting, with outlier Matthew Webb (pictured, Luke Treadaway) caught up in the Battle of Singapore, desperately searching for an unnamed woman – but viewers were left unimpressed as the drama continued 

'The Singapore Grip is quite flat so far', one person tweeted, with the show then tracing backwards to Matthew’s arrival in the city as the son of a powerful aristocrat (Game of Throne’s Charles Dance) who is quickly caught up in the schemes of the Blackett family (pictured)

‘The Singapore Grip is quite flat so far’, one person tweeted, with the show then tracing backwards to Matthew’s arrival in the city as the son of a powerful aristocrat (Game of Throne’s Charles Dance) who is quickly caught up in the schemes of the Blackett family (pictured)

Reaction: Many viewers were left unimpressed by the first episode of The Singapore Grip and aired their frustration on Twitter (pictured)

Reaction: Many viewers were left unimpressed by the first episode of The Singapore Grip and aired their frustration on Twitter (pictured)

But the invasion of the island by Japan in 1942, one of the key events of the Second World War, throws their lives into turmoil.

Matthew is seen returning to the city in the first episode, after the passing of his father Mr Webb, and getting caught up in the schemes of the Blacketts.

David Morrissey and Jane Horrocks appear as Walter and Sylvia Blackett, expats enjoying the fruits of his success in the Far East rubber trade. 

Matthew is seen returning to the city in the first episode, after the passing of his father Mr Webb (pictured with Elizabeth Tan as Vera Chiang), and getting caught up in the schemes of the Blacketts

Matthew is seen returning to the city in the first episode, after the passing of his father Mr Webb (pictured with Elizabeth Tan as Vera Chiang), and getting caught up in the schemes of the Blacketts 

However, the changing of timelines within the programme confused some, while others loved the first episode and couldn't wait to see how the drama unfolded (pictured)

However, the changing of timelines within the programme confused some, while others loved the first episode and couldn’t wait to see how the drama unfolded (pictured)

Australian actress Georgia Blizzard plays the Blacketts’ scheming daughter Joan, a woman with her sights set on Matthew.

However, the changing timelines within the programme confused some, while others loved the first episode and couldn’t wait to see how the drama unfolded.

One person wrote: ‘#TheSingaporeGrip very good. Better than #asuitableboy! Or #Strike’, while another said: ‘That was a promising first episode of #TheSingaporeGrip.’

A third added: ‘Well overall I thought it was rather intriguing. Certainly interesting enough to stick with.’

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