Monday, 30 November -0001

Joanna's Journey

Charming, curious, curt: Joanna Lumley does Asia

Written by Ben Falsenberg
Woe betide those who incur the wrath of an unstoppable, imperious figure leading the way thousands of miles across Asia. No, it’s not Genghis Khan and his merciless horde, but Ab Fab’s Patsy with camera crew in tow. In Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure (Sunday, ITV, 9pm), the actress is ever charming and insatiably curious, but she always speaks her mind. Visiting a Rolls-Royce dealer in Beijing, she’s a concerned passenger on a test drive with a millionairess who can’t keep off her phone behind the wheel on a busy road, incurring la Lumley’s frosty admonition: ‘Darling – I think probably not with the mobile at the moment…’

Tiananmen Square, she tells us with sad irony, means ‘heaven peace gate’, and there she looks up with a disapproving shake of the head at a video advert for Tibet, which reduces a brutally occupied nation to a holiday destination. Clearly, Lumley would never settle for politely serving the needs of the local tourist board, and sparks will fly all the way to the Kremlin over the three episodes. Even as she laps up the lavish spectacle of the Chinese emperor’s court at the Forbidden City, she can’t help but pick out the human meaning of a place where every night each of the thousands of lonely concubines would hope to be the one selected for a maximum allotted two hours with their master. ‘Make it snappy, make it good!’ exclaims Lumley with a theatrical click of her fingers. 



Dragons’ Den Sunday, BBC2, 8.15pm
The dragons are back to dole out scorching verdicts and largesse; Evan Davis consoles the losers.

Hive Minds Tuesday, BBC4, 8.30pm
Try and beat the teams searching for hidden words in a brainstraining new quiz with Fiona Bruce.

Secret Life Of Twins Wednesday, ITV, 9pm
Discovering the extraordinary connections between twins in a thoroughly riveting study of the subject.

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