Chinese version of The Little Nyonya creates buzz on Weibo

Formerly Singapore-based Dai Xiangyu (left) and Chinese actress Xiao Yan in the new Chinese remake of The Little Nyonya.
Formerly Singapore-based Dai Xiangyu (left) and Chinese actress Xiao Yan in the new Chinese remake of The Little Nyonya.PHOTO: THE LITTLE NYONYA/WEIBO

SINGAPORE - The 2020 Chinese remake of classic local drama The Little Nyonya (2008) may have premiered on China Central Television on Sunday (June 28) quietly with little fanfare, but it immediately topped Chinese microblogging site Weibo's real-time search rankings.

The drama stars Chinese actress Xiao Yan and Taiwanese actor Kou Chia-jui, who step into the roles first played by Jeanette Aw and Qi Yuwu.

Similar to Aw, Xiao Yan plays both the role of female lead Yueniang and Yueniang's mother Juxiang, who died early.

The series, which is available in Singapore via iQiyi's streaming platform, also has faces familiar to local audiences.

Dai Xiangyu, previously known as Dai Yangtian, reprises his role as Yamamoto Yousuke, a charming Japanese photographer and father to Yueniang.

Netizens flocked to Weibo to marvel that Dai, despite playing the same character 12 years apart, has not visibly aged.

Xiang Yun, who was in the original series as Juxiang's mother, takes on the role of the Chen family matriarch in this new rendition.

Actors Terence Cao and Jeffrey Xu both appear in this series as well - which was partly filmed in Malaysia for an authentic Peranakan setting.

The series is penned by its original creator - local scriptwriter Ang Eng Tee, who is also behind hit series like 1940s post-war drama Tofu Street (1996) and family drama Holland V (2003) - and executive produced by Chinese director Guo Jingyu.

Guo told Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News: "There was no promotion done before it premiered but it topped the search rankings, in front of current news affairs, that's very rare.

"The fact that it's getting noticed shows that it's a good story that can get people talking."