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Dick Lee's 'Fried Rice Paradise' is now a TV series with a murder mystery twist

(From left) Foo Fang Rong, Danial Ashriq and Cheryl Chou star in Mediacorp's TV drama series based on Dick Lee's musical, Fried Rice Paradise.
(From left) Foo Fang Rong, Danial Ashriq and Cheryl Chou star in 'Fried Rice Paradise'. (Photo: Mediacorp)

SINGAPORE — Dick Lee’s iconic musical Fried Rice Paradise has gotten a remake for television, and the 13-episode series is set to hit our screens tomorrow.

Lee said at a launch party for the series last week that having Fried Rice Paradise be made into a TV show was “a little dream” that he had harboured for many years, and he thanked Mediacorp for making his dream come true.

The series, co-produced by Mediacorp and mm2 Entertainment, will air first on video streaming site Toggle tomorrow (25 June), then subsequently every Tuesday at 9.30pm on Channel 5.

The show stars newcomer Foo Fang Rong as protagonist Choo Bee Lean, who investigates her mother’s death while trying to prop up the family’s restaurant business.

Other stars include Peter Yu (A Land Imagined), Sebastian Tan (Broadway Beng), Carmen Soo (The Pupil), Suhaimi Yusof, Danial Ashriq (both reuniting since Police And Thief), Cheryl Chou, Uriah See, Valnice Yek, Rani Singam, and Aisyah Aziz.

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Foo Fang Rong and Peter Yu play father and daughter in Mediacorp's TV adaption of Dick Lee's musical Fried Rice Paradise. (Photo: Mediacorp)
Peter Yu (right) plays his first English-speaking role in 'Fried Rice Paradise'. (Photo: Mediacorp)

1980s chic

The TV version of Fried Rice Paradise preserves the original ‘80s setting, but to spice things up this time around, a murder mystery has been thrown into the mix.

Celebrated local singer-songwriter Lee wrote a song called Fried Rice Paradise in the ‘70s, which he eventually expanded into a musical which was staged in 1991 and 2010.

Fried Rice Paradise will feature songs from the original musical as well as new songs written specially for the TV series by Lee.

The TV show will feature songs in a naturalistic manner, with the music being incorporated into the scenes and story instead of having characters break out into song-like melody in a musical.

Ong Kuo Sin, executive producer of the TV show, told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore, “Dick being Dick, he wanted it to be different and out-of-the blue. Initially it was a happy, coming-of-age show, but he added this murder mystery twist, which makes the whole Fried Rice Paradise very unexpected.”

Ong said the show will feature lots of larger-than-life fashion from the ‘80s, shoulder pads and all.

Sebastian Tan in Mediacorp's TV adaptation of Dick Lee's Fried Rice Paradise. (Photo: Mediacorp)
Sebastian Tan plays the villain in "Fried Rice Paradise". (Photo: Mediacorp)

Peter Yu’s foray into Channel 5

Fried Rice Paradise happens to be Channel 8 actor Peter Yu’s first English-language TV show. Yu was last seen in local film A Land Imagined, which won the top prize at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival.

Yu, who is more comfortable speaking Mandarin than English, told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore that he was surprised when he was offered the role of Choo Bee Lean’s drunkard father, but he took it anyway in order to challenge himself.

“I felt a sense of achievement when I wrapped filming for Fried Rice Paradise as it proved that I could handle an English-speaking role,” Yu said. “I hope to take on more such roles in the future, whether they’re for Channel 5 or Channel 8.”

In case you’ve never heard Fried Rice Paradise, here’s a music video of the song from the film Wonder Boy, which was loosely based on the life of Dick Lee:

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