Classic Dick Lee, Michael Chiang plays to be turned into Channel 5 dramas

‘Fried Rice Paradise’, ‘Mixed Signals’ and Goh Boon Teck’s ‘Titoudao’ are each being made into a 13-episode series as part of Mediacorp’s new ‘Lights. Camera. Singapore’ initiative

The unveiling of the 'Lights. Camera. Singapore' logo
The unveiling of the 'Lights. Camera. Singapore' logo
22 Nov 2018

The unveiling of the 'Lights. Camera. Singapore' logo

Photos: Tammi Tan, Channel 5

Classic stage productions Mixed Signals, Fried Rice Paradise and Titoudao are each getting their own 13-episode drama adaptations, almost 30 years after they were first introduced to audiences.

The theatre-to-television transformations are part of Mediacorp’s new #supportlocal campaign called Lights. Camera. Singapore, which will also have 28 Lion City-made movies - including Ilo Ilo, 1965, Pop Aye, The Faith of Anna Waters, Our Sister Mambo and many more - being shown on Channel 5 and Toggle every Tuesday at 10pm from November 27 onwards. So if you didn’t get to catch these flicks in the cinema, now is your chance.

Renowned writers Michael Chiang and Dick Lee, who created Mixed Signals and Fried Rice Paradise respectively, were the special guests at the official unveiling of the initiative at the Mediacorp Campus on Tuesday (Nov 20). Several actors were also there to represent their films that will be shown, including Kym Ng (Love... and Other Bad Habits), Vernetta Lopez (The Leap Years), and Chen Yixi, Michelle Wong and Fang Rong (Wonder Boy).

Read on to find out why Michael Chiang decided on Mixed Signals to be made into a drama, what idea we may have given Dick Lee for the TV adaptation of Fried Rice Paradise, and what memories the artistes have from making their movies.

Fried Rice Paradise premieres on July 2, 2019 at 9.30pm on Channel 5 and Toggle.
Mixed Signals premieres on October 1, 2019 at 9.30pm on Channel 5 and Toggle.
Titoudao premieres on January 7, 2020 at 9.30pm on Channel 5 and Toggle.

(Pictured from left to right: Mediacorp CEO Tham Loke Kheng, Michael Chiang, Mediacorp Chief Customer Officer Irene Lim, Dick Lee)

Dick Lee
Dick Lee
22 Nov 2018

Dick Lee

Was it your idea to have Fried Rice Paradise made into a drama?
No. Mediacorp came to me asking if I would be interested to turn it into a drama and I was like “Yes, finally!” because really, I’ve been dreaming of this. I’ve always thought it would make a good TV series.

Do you have a dream cast in mind?
This is a tricky thing because it’s halfway between a musical and a drama. If it were a musical, it’d be easier for me to cast, but because it’s now a drama with music, we need good actors that can also carry a song well. Right now we’re now at the scriptwriting stage, which will help us to know what kind of actors we will need.

How involved will you be with the production process?
Very. I have until the end of December to finish the songs, and I don’t even have a script yet! I need a script to plot and write the songs, then we need the cast to learn the songs because we have to record everything before we start filming, so everything is going to be very compact. I also intend to direct at least the first two episodes to set the tone.

Would you consider making an appearance in the show yourself?
What a great idea, we never thought of that! (Laughs)

Michael Chiang
Michael Chiang
22 Nov 2018

Michael Chiang

Was it your idea to have Mixed Signals made into a drama?
We had a couple of options (obvious ones like Army Daze and Beauty World), but I told Channel 5 that there’s particular play I really wanted to adapt, so I sent them the synopsis for Mixed Signals and within 20 minutes, they got back to me saying, “Yes! We want this!”

I told them it would be very good for TV because the pace is quite fast and there are a lot of colourful characters. Plus, because the character gets into an accident that leaves her with a chip in her head that can pick up TV signals, it would be a good way to promote Channel 5 programmes. (Laughs)

Do you have a dream cast in mind?
Yes, but I can’t tell you who until we lock them in.

How involved will you be with the production process?
Probably too involved - I’m a control freak. (Laughs) I’ve always been used to handling all aspects of a play, from the auditions to rehearsals to marketing, so I see myself getting more involved than I need to be, for better or worse!

Would you consider making an appearance in the show yourself?
No, no, no, I don’t think so! I prefer to be behind the scenes.

Kym Ng
Kym Ng
22 Nov 2018

Kym Ng

How do you feel about Love... and Other Bad Habits being shown again on TV?
When they told me about it I was like, “Huh? What is that?” And then I realised, “Oh yeah! I’m in it!” (Laughs) It was such a long time ago! [Ed: It was released in 2013.] Only five years ago meh!? It feels like it was 50 years ago! (Laughs)

What are some memories you have from filming?
I just remember it was a very small but important role, and that I had short hair and had to act a bit hiao (vain) and like an ah lian. (Laughs)

I also remember being compared to Zoe [Tay] because she was very sophisticated in the show, whereas I was more outrageous and loud, so I remember letting go and just going crazy. I also remember this movie as one of the very few times I got to work with Zoe.

Love... and Other Bad Habits airs on February 19, 2019 at 10pm on Channel 5 and Toggle.

Vernetta Lopez
Vernetta Lopez
23 Nov 2018

Vernetta Lopez

How do you feel about The Leap Years being shown on TV after 10 years?
Wait, it’s only been 10 years? No lah. It feels like it was done in the early 2000s or late 90s! [Ed’s note: we checked, and it indeed came out in 2008.] Either way, I think it’s great that it’s being shown again. It’s such a romantic movie and I love that it will be embraced by Channel 5 and Toggle audiences.

What are some memories you have from filming?
I remember sleeping on the couch and bonding with Nadya [Hutaglung], Paula [Malai Ali] and [Wong] Lilin. I remember the 4am call times our crazy director made us get up for, the amazing sets, and watching the final product. The whole experience was incredible.

If there were to be a remake of The Leap Years, who would you like to see in it?
Wow, they’d have to find someone really ethereal like Lilin. How about this: Felicia Chin and [He] Ying Ying. And then me lah, of course. I’ll be the old aunty of the group. (Laughs)

The Leap Years airs on February 12, 2019 at 10pm on Channel 5 and Toggle.

Michelle Wong, Chen Yixi, Fang Rong
Michelle Wong, Chen Yixi, Fang Rong
22 Nov 2018

Michelle Wong, Chen Yixi, Fang Rong

How do you feel about Wonder Boy, which was just released last year, being shown on TV?
Fang Rong: We feel honoured and surprised, because when they were talking about how there’s going to be so many older, classic films being shown again, we didn’t expect Wonder Boy to be included as well.

Michelle: But we’re all very thankful because we had such a fun time making it.

What are some memories you have from filming?
Michelle: Everything to me is about food. I remember us going out to eat together at famous Penang hawker stalls. Julie [Tan] is from there so she introduced all the best places to us.

Fang Rong: To me, it was about flying between Singapore and Penang because for most of us, it was our first time working overseas.

Yixi: One specific memory I have is filming the scene where we are chased down the street by policemen while wearing platform shoes and flared pants. That was interesting!

Wonder Boy airs on June 25, 2019 at 10pm on Channel 5 and Toggle.

Dick Lee with the cast of 'Wonder Boy'
Dick Lee with the cast of 'Wonder Boy'
22 Nov 2018

Dick Lee with the cast of 'Wonder Boy'

Fang Rong, Michelle Wong, Chen Yixi and Kym Ng
Fang Rong, Michelle Wong, Chen Yixi and Kym Ng
22 Nov 2018

Fang Rong, Michelle Wong, Chen Yixi and Kym Ng

Koh Chieng Mun and Vernetta Lopez
Koh Chieng Mun and Vernetta Lopez
22 Nov 2018

Koh Chieng Mun and Vernetta Lopez


Veteran singer Rahimah Rahim joins in a performance of 'Fried Rice Paradise'
Veteran singer Rahimah Rahim joins in a performance of 'Fried Rice Paradise'
23 Nov 2018

Veteran singer Rahimah Rahim joins in a performance of 'Fried Rice Paradise'

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