Jonathan Chik Adds Variety to Hong Kong Dramas

Amidst a television industry that feeds on older housewives as its main audience, the dark and provocative productions of TVB  producer Jonathan Chik (戚其義) noticeably stand out from the family-friendly crowd.

Jonathan produced his first television drama in 1991 and his first TVB television drama in 1994. The golden producer has produced a variety of different television dramas throughout his 20-year TVB journey, including police procedural dramas, family sagas, medical dramas, period dramas, fantasy dramas, psychological thrillers, and comedies. He explored cannibalism in When Heaven Burns <天與地> and played on the state of mind in Master of Play <心戰>. There are no boundaries to where Jonathan’s creative mind can reach.

The legendary producer’s last drama with TVB, Beauty at War <金枝慾孽貳>, introduces yet another refreshing topic to the Hong Kong audience – gossip. Beauty at War, a sequel to Jonathan’s 2004 palace drama War and Beauty <金枝慾孽>, sends a message to viewers that gossip and rumors, as harmless they may seem, can actually inflict injury and abuse on anyone who falls victim to hearsay.

“The first installment talked about women competing for power. The focus of this installment puts strength on the power of human relationships, and the gossip that surrounds it.”

There is always more than one pressing theme in Jonathan’s productions. Besides cannibalism, When Heaven Burns also dabbed on music and commented on Hong Kong’s dying democratic society. Master of Play, though primarily a psychological thriller, also added elements of serial killing. Cold Blood Warm Heart <天地男兒> had elements of both crime thriller and family drama. For Beauty at War, Jonathan chose to explore the art of kunqu opera as a side-theme.

“During [Qing Dynasty] times, the easiest way for women of the Forbidden City to approach real men is through opera actors, which is why I decided to incorporate elements of kunqu into the drama. I did spend a lot of effort in the story. I was not familiar with Beyond’s music, but I added that into When Heaven Burns. Similarly, I did not understand kunqu, so I did a lot of cram studying.”

Known for making dramas that challenge the borders of modern Chinese idiosyncratic realities, Jonathan also credited his scriptwriter, Chow Yuk Ming (周旭明), for being “the brain” of his projects. “We like to use different lines of thinking and present them through the philosophies of different people. For example, in Master of Play, we played around the idea of split personalities. The point of it is to show that a single matter can be seen in many different ways.

“I never cared if the audience liked [my productions] or not, but I do want to give you more options to choose. The problem is, do you have the patience to accept new things?”


This article is written by Addy for  

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  1. Rather a pity we won’t be seeing any more of Jonathan chik after BAW. I actually loved his stories – when heaven burns (though I find it started to get draggy) and Master of Play.

    1. Producer Chik always put his heart in producing every drama series. He liked to challenge himself by trying different approaches and different themes. It is sad to lose him in future drama series as TVB have already lost many good producers and scriptwriters.

  2. Jonathan Chik is a brilliant producer who always challenged himself to produce dramas with different themes. Though not all his drama series are well liked by Hong Kong audience, I do admire his courage to try something new to inspire people’s thinking. We are going to miss him very much in future TVB drama series.

    1. Hope Jonathan Chik will come back to film TVB drama series in the near future. Good luck, Producer Jonathan Chik Ki Yee and Chow Yuk Ming.

      Scriptwriter Chow Yuk Ming is also a brilliant writer with new ideas and good Chinese language skills. He wrote very good scripts most of the time and I particularly enjoyed his classical old Chinese dialogues. However, I think he should learn to work within the timeline and finish his scripts on time, instead of handing out “flying paper” scripts to artistes. This could easily jeopardize an artiste’s acting.

  3. “I never cared if the audience liked [my productions] or not, but I do want to give you more options to choose. The problem is, do you have the patience to accept new things?”

    Love his personality despite not always loving his work!

    1. Producer Chik is more an artiste than a producer for commercial purposes. No wonder we could watch some new and creative stuffs from him.

      1. Me, too, no matter I like all his drama series or not. He is a very creative and honest producer/artiste.

  4. I am a huge fan of Jonathan Chik. His dramas always have a professional look to them, the quirky ones have such offbeat humor, and I admire him and his team for trying to bring something different to HK television.

  5. I thought he moved to HKTV?
    I would love to see what he can make and write when he is not restricted by all the rules and red tape at TVB.
    I have only seen a few of his shows and while I liked them for trying something different, they still felt like a TVB production (writing/acting/set/plot quality). I totally respect and love him for trying something new though. TVB desperately need more people like him.
    He seems maybe more suited for movie dramas or somewhere that will allow him the freedom to write a series without restrictions.
    It would be sad if he had nowhere else to go but back to TVB cause they didn’t treat him well while he was there and sure as heck wont treat him well if he returns.

    1. I agree that Producer Chik should try to produce some movies. With his creativity, he can film some good movies with less restrictions and bigger budgets.

  6. Jonathan Chik’s series are pretty draggy, but in retrospect, most are great dramas.

    My favorite works from him are Cold Blood Warm Heart, Secret of the Heart, Feminine Masculinity, Threshold of an Era, and War & Beauty. Not a big fan of his recent works (iffy about WHB) but hopefully BAW will be above expectations.

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