The Real Marigold Hotel


Wednesday, 9pm

STANLEY Johnson, father of the former foreign secretary, is wandering the streets of Udaipur in India with The Krankies, looking for whisky

It sounds like the start of a joke, or a scene from a flu dream, but it is instead a snippet from The Real Marigold Hotel, the BBC reality show in which folk of a similar age live together for a while in a hot clime.

Think Love Island with hip replacements.

Bravo to whoever had the idea of casting the Scots double act alongside the usual crew of retired actors and sports people.

Pure dead Glaswegian to their core, it is touch and go whether India will survive cultural contact with them.

Stanley and The Krankies managed to find an off-licence and filled their boots.

Expensive, said Janette (Wee Jimmy Krankie) when they emerged.

“Well you can’t get a bottle of wine for £8 in England now!” spluttered Stanley, or Stan, as Ian Tough (Mr Krankie) called him.

“You can when you go to Lidl or Aldi,” said Janette.

Stanley looked at her in puzzlement, perhaps wondering if she was referring to parts of the Loire he had yet to discover.

The programme’s ostensible aim was to find out if India’s weather and low cost of living made it a possible retirement spot, as in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Everyone certainly adored the luxury hotel the Beeb had booked.

The trouble started when they left it.

“It’s a bit grubby, isn’t it?” said actor Stephanie Beacham.

Janette was in tears at the sight of a donkey carrying a load of bricks. She clung to her husband as scooters roared past.

“Janette went from crying to laughing to being terrified,” Ian told the others.

Now she knows what it feels like to watch your stage act, someone might have muttered, but no one was that mean.

This being the first week everyone was on their best behaviour.

Later, comic Syd Little and Ian took pity on jockey Bob Champion, who had never eaten a curry before, and decided to cook a roast chicken dinner.

This meant shopping for chickens.

Real, live ones.

The butcher duly plucked one from a cage and hacked its head off.

Poor Syd nearly fainted.

Bob enjoyed the dinner, which was more than the chicken did.

There is a month of this to go.