Monday, March 24, 2008

My House in Africa

I really wanted to like the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (BBC1, Sunday) , it being, as it turned out, Anthony Minghella's final throw of the dice. But I failed miserably, as I once did with the book.

Those words were actually from the TV Review in today's Guardian, but they could have been mine. The reviewer was harsh, he called it twee, quaint, shallow, possibly patronising.

It's Heartbeat, basically, relocated to Botswana, a beautiful African country where smiley happy people, cardboard cut-out characters, go about their business with good humour, hard work, morality and diligence.

I've never seen this Heartbeat thing, but I used to live in southern Africa, and I think the basic sentiment of the review was that the show did not really reflect the harsh reality of life there. I actually have no issue with that. My issue was the lack of "detection". The "cases" were all pathetically easy. It was more style than substance.

The author, Alexander McCall Smith, is an expert in both law and medicine, he could have included so much more. He is now resident in Edinburgh, home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes would be turning in his grave.


Anonymous said...

Didn't watch it! there was something with boobs in on the other side. Am I intellectual enough to read these blogs?

Ann Cardus said...

I was going to say that I liked the show, and I'd liked the book but I don't care now....I just want to know who anonymous is because I laughed and laughed.

Anonymous said...

I actually really enjoyed it and was moved by it despite everything that you said. It's been said before but for once a depiction of Africa that is not filled with tribal violence, famine and ignorance.
It was a nice way to finish off Easter Sunday.
Don't plan on reading the books, but would happily watch another episode on TV.

Rana said...

Good to see you here Amelia. I think it's great to see positive images of Africa too.

So my issue was not the lack of "grittiness", it was the lack of "plot" - the cases were too easy.

Each to their own taste :)