A Little Bit of Botswana Comes to HBO

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  03.27.09 | 10:29 AM ET

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, a television adaptation of the popular Alexander McCall Smith novels, premieres on HBO this weekend. The series follows the adventures of Botswana’s only female detective, Precious Ramotswe, played by Jill Scott; Anthony Minghella cowrote and directed the two-hour pilot before his death, and he and Sydney Pollack (also since deceased) were both producers on the project.

The show offers a departure from the grim view of Africa that we often see on the screen. In an interview with Black Voices, Scott describes the show as “sweet”—“We don’t have television like that anymore,” she adds—and Telegraph TV critic John Preston agrees, calling the show’s lighthearted storylines “curiously beguiling.” (“‘A little dog has gone missing,’ I found myself telling my wife excitedly at one point. ‘No one knows where it has got to!’”)

“The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” was filmed on location in Botswana, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it will likely be the first glimpse of the small Southern African country to air in U.S. prime time; that alone seems like reason enough to tune in. Catch the premiere Sunday at 8 p.m.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

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