The Real Marigold Hotel

An all-star cast on the journey of a lifetime, for BBC Two

The Real Marigold Hotel

With a terrific line up of characters, the Real Marigold Hotel is both entertaining and incredibly moving and raises some big questions about the way we live the later part of our lives.Kim Shillinglaw, Controller, BBC Two
Date: 07.01.2016     Last updated: 07.01.2016 at 09.56
Category: BBC Two; Factual
BBC Two announces an ambitious new travel documentary series, The Real Marigold Hotel, which takes an all-star cast on the journey of a lifetime.

The series, inspired by but otherwise unrelated to the blockbuster film, documents the authentic experience of eight famous senior citizens as they head to India on an experimental adventure. 

This 3x60’ series follows actor Miriam Margolyes OBE, dancer Wayne Sleep OBE, actor Sylvester McCoy, comedian Roy Walker, chef Rosemary Shrager, darts champion Bobby George, singer Patti Boulaye OBE and former news reader Jan Leeming for three weeks to see if they would consider spending their golden years retiring to the other side of the world.

Four thousand miles from home, the group will land in colourful Jaipur, capital of the state of Rajasthan in Northern India, to test whether they can set up a better, more rewarding retirement here than in the UK.

In the scorching heat, the group will take over a haveli - an Indian private mansion - and from the moment they arrive they will have to work out how to set up home together: from who’ll cook and clean and whether they will hire staff, to how they will get around and spend their time.

Their unforgettable Indian adventure will see the group fully embrace Indian culture, from the surprises of the capital’s largest slum to meeting Jaipur’s Royal family at the opulent Rambagh Palace. As they settle into local life, members of the group will take to yoga and learn some Hindi, experience shopping in the hectic streets, hunt for potential properties and take advantage of the medical care. We’ll see them visit the Ganesh Chaturti festival, ride elephants, make a trip to one of the holiest Hindu cities in India, Varanasi, and also test out long-distance travel by embarking on a 150-mile trip to the jewel in India’s crown, the Taj Mahal.

From the environment to the food, the transport to the customs, moving away from the UK is guaranteed to be a culture shock for our cast - as they leave routines and loved ones behind to adapt to living together and to a completely new way of life.

Controller of BBC Two, Kim Shillinglaw, says: “In 2016, BBC Two will be tackling a number of contemporary issues, from the black economy to low pay, with lively, entertaining new programmes with real purpose. I'm delighted to be kicking off with this warm and very funny experiment examining how we spend our older years. With a terrific line up of characters, the Real Marigold Hotel is both entertaining and incredibly moving and raises some big questions about the way we live the later part of our lives.”

The Real Marigold Hotel series is a Twofour production for BBC Two. It is Executive Produced by David Clews and Andrew MacKenzie and David Vallance is the Series Editor. It was commissioned by Kim Shillinglaw, Controller, BBC Two and Clare Sillery, BBC Commissioning Editor, Documentaries. The series is set to air late-January 2016 (tbc).

EK