’The Real Marigold Hotel’ took in eight more guests this week, with the debut of Series 2 seeing a group of celebrity pensioners embarking on an experiment in overseas retirement.
Sheila Ferguson, Bill Oddie, Rustie Lee, Paul Nicholas, Dennis Taylor, Lionel Blair, Miriam Stoppard and Amanda Barrie set off for Cochin in Southern India, and it was immediately clear it was a harmonious group, full of laughter and shared confidences, as they set about finding out what life in southern India had to offer its OAPs.
The series continues to charm, specifically in Episode 1, with...
1. Sheila Ferguson’s diva antics when they first arrived at the house - shamelessly swapping rooms with Bill, basically because, no bones about it, she just felt more deserving
2. Paul Nicholas’ laid-back attitude to the prospect of turning up in India with no spare underpants. Cue a wander to the shops with Bill Oddie. “Good morning, where can I buy some briefs?”
3. Paul’s wife’s unflurried response on being told of her husband’s clothing predicament many miles away, by text. “Odd. New tiles arrive Tues.” Class.
4. Miriam Stoppard’s open-mouthed admiration for a young gent shimmying up a palm tree. “He must have strong thighs,” she forensically spotted. “He’s very strong,” she added in case we missed it. It’s always the quiet ones.
5. Rustie Lee’s unquenchable joie de vivre, whether she was accidentally pouring vinegar on her chicken feast, or settling down with three men for her boat trip. “It’s like three men and a baby, but no baby,” said Paul. “Yet,” barked Rustie.
6. Lionel Blair’s volte-face - from deriding his “horrific” surroundings, going so far as calling it a “shanty town”, to embracing the adventure and the beauty by the end of the first week - “You couldn’t be happier here,” he said of his trip on the backwaters. “I think I made a mistake. I won’t complain about another thing.”
7. Bill Oddie’s mournful harmonica session on his balcony, plus his admission that, however good the company, everyone needs a little ‘me-time’ occasionally
Catch up with ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ Series 2 on BBCiPlayer.