Monday, March 23, 2009


I have become hooked on the above new BBC TV series, 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' based on the books by Alexander McCall Smith. I have seen many series on crime, but this one is striking because it is set in Botswana with all the colours and the different scenery, the actors are non-white, and the plots are so simple and realistic. I often find that with crime fiction, the modern approach is to show power, use all the weaponry and science to commit or decode the crime, and show a clear divide between the criminals and the good people.

Here on the other hand, the detective has a small pick-up car, is a 'fat' woman, and charges based on the ability of the payer - sometimes doing work for free. Also there are children involved throughout, there is very little of the usual sex and violence formula, and the approach is to use imagination rather than powerful and expensive resources. No attempt is made to ignore or bypass that which is not 'normal' and instead every attempt is made to be inclusive. Also in one episode, there are three or four crimes solved, so it is diverse in itself. The first pilot film was shot by the late Anthony Minghella and he did a superb job. The series is really living up to his high standards of production and direction.

To me, this series shows the power of diversity and the mosaic it weaves through everyday life. Without it, life would be so dull. I strongly recommend it.

No comments: