Friday, 07 April 2017


Two ladies who leave the everyday behind

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Is 70 the new 50? Or even the new 30? Before we all get carried away with that welcome – or worrying – suggestion, note it comes out of the mouth of the frenetically deranged Mim (Miriam Margolyes) in the new comedy series Bucket (Thursday 13 April, BBC4, 10pm). As she celebrates hitting three-score-and-10, eternal free spirit Mim is an overenergised teletubby of a woman, fizzing with hysterical glee and resolved to work through her list of longed-for experiences before she kicks the bucket. Half her age, but immeasurably more sensible, is the schoolteacher daughter she’s dragging along, Fran (Frog Stone, also the series writer), who must squirm with a lifetime’s mortificationBen-Felsenburg-colour-176 at her mother’s wish to ride bareback with the Navajo, before Mim adds: ‘I’ve never seen the sun set on the Taj Mahal. I’ve never made love in an elevator.’ Pause. ‘Or have I?’ The oddball odyssey begins less than exotically with an overnight stay at Miniworld – ‘Norfolk’s answer to Disneyland’ – and a birthday conga round the all-you-can-eat restaurant.

While there’s a fair peppering of scatalogical humour, so it’s not for the faint-hearted, Bucket proves to be very, very funny, and Margolyes is quite simply magnificent, terrifying and all-conquering. There’s a darker strand to the story that leaves you wondering where it’s going over the four episodes, but, for now, revel in the glorious talents of Margolyes and Stone. As Mim puts it, ‘Carpe bloody diem!’

Now that’s advice you’d never give to Joanna Lumley, who a while back performed a neat career segue from actress to globetrotting adventuress, and cunningly found a way to get TV people to pay for her travels. In Joanna Lumley’s Postcards (Thursday 20, ITV, 8pm) the eternal blonde bombshell takes a wry look back through her trips. While when ordinary mortals get out their old holiday snaps it’s time for the wise to make their excuses and leave, La Lumley reveals she has a rich trove of fascinating memories to share with us, drawn from the finely illustrated notebooks and journals she’s kept.

This opening episode is devoted to the journey she took along the Nile, starting in Cairo and with a memorable turn of phrase, as she pulls along a camel on a lead on her way to the pyramids: ‘so soft, it’s like leading a cloud behind me.’ Eventually, the trek ends far off the well-beaten tourist track, in Sudan, where Lumley descends deep into an ancient tomb to explore the last resting place of a warrior queen laid there two and a half thousand years ago. You can’t help but notice the look of unalloyed admiration from one goddess for another from a far-off age. And, as for Lumley’s enviably unaltered figure, at last the secret is out: ‘Hardly ever have breakfast. Quite often don’t have lunch.’



The Graham Norton Show (Fri 7, BBC1, 10.35pm)
Norton with a new star-packed series.

Our Friend Victoria (Tues 11, BBC1, 9.30pm)
Julie Walters takes a look back at the life and career of Victoria Wood. 

Detectives: Inside the Major Crimes Team (Thurs 13, ITV, 9pm)
the lancashire police series returns.

Mary Berry's Easter Feast (Friday 14, BBC2, 7pm)
Adventurous holiday menus.

Britain's Got Talent (Sat 15, ITV, time TBC)
the contest and judges are back to find new stars.

Colombia with Simon Reeve (Sunday 16, BBC1, 9pm)
Simon Reeve uncovers the land’s secrets.

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