After the success of the blockbuster film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the idea of embracing later life and retiring to a country considerable hotter than the UK, is one that appealed too many. But like all films, the reality of sending senior citizens to retire to India isn’t so straightforward.
Back by popular demand, BBC’s The Real Marigold Hotel returns for its second series. Sending eight well-known senior citizens – entertainer Lionel Blair, actress Amanda Barrie, snooker champion Dennis Taylor, TV personality Rustie Lee, Doctor Miriam Stoppard, presenter Bill Oddie, singer Sheila Ferguson and actor Paul Nicholas – to experience life in Kochi, India.
Adjusting to life in India is bound to be a challenge but Rustie and Miriam make the most of India’s beauty whilst Paul, Bill and Dennis can only laugh at the situation they find themselves in. At 87 Lionel is the oldest member and struggles to settle in.
Enthusiastic Sheila throws herself into the local culture opting to try out an Ayurvedic massage with Paul, an experience she said was ‘profoundly calming’ and one that rooted her positive outlook on the whole experience.
In order for the seniors to test if Kochi is the place to spend their golden years, the group travel on traditional houseboats to the beautiful backwaters, a waterway that meanders through villages and jungles – even hesitant Lionel is swept away by the natural beauty, comparing the mystical setting to “the garden of Eden”.
With a party to finish their first week, the senior celebs have a chance to mingle and, after they get a taste of ‘the real India’, reflect upon their new environment. But with the excessive noise and bright lights, will life in the fast paced city prove to be too much?
The Real Marigold Hotel, Wednesday, 9pm – BBC One