The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which was shot in Botswana and stars R&B singer, Jill Scott, premiered over the past two weeks in England and America to mixed reviews for its lack of portraying the squalor that many have come to expect of Africa.
The series kicked off on BBC One on 15th March with 5.2million viewers tuning in. This follows the screening of the movie early last year on the same channel, which also reported record ratings from many fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel series set in Botswana.
Anthony Minghella the movie’s director, best known for The English Patient (1996) which won 9 Oscars, reportedly envisaged the Mma Ramotswe story as a series but sadly lost his life shortly after the screening of the movie.
Sidney Pollack who shares the credit of producing the movie alongside Minghella also passed away two months later.
New writer, Nicholas Wright, and director Charles Sturridge have produced the series, which many critics have termed as a feel good but escapist view of Africa, such as not acknowledging the HIV epidemic. And not portraying darkness or evil expected of a detective story.
“All the things that are right and good and hopeful about this programme are also all the things that are simplistic, silly and wrong about it,” publishers Timesonline, who added that the series misses the real Africa and is rather desperate to show Botswana and its inhabitants in a glowing, good light due to the government having put up a lot of the cash and facilitated the filming.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal acknowledged the absence of gore, sex and four letter words in the Mma Ramotswe series, which airs on HBO in America. The reviewer offers that the series has a feminist theme, for women to take care of themselves where men cannot be trusted.
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency will compete as a mini series or drama series at the Emmys, and is expected to make an impact at the awards and on audiences.