~16-page viewer’s guide with a map, an article on efforts to map the Nile, and an exclusive interview with explorer Cam McLeay
~Profiles of the countries visited and a biography of Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley is an actress that I was pretty familiar with. I of course had seen her on Absolutely Fabulous, seen her as evil Aunt Spiker on James and the Giant Peach, and her role as Dame Olga in Ella Enchanted. I figured this trek through Egypt would be filled with laughs and a variety of one liners, I never imagined Lumley would irritate me as much as she did.
The special begins with Lumley traversing the local markets with her guide and preparing to travel by camel to the pyramids. Lumley mentions that the time in which she makes her travels is a time of fasting for the people of Egypt. Her guide introduces her to a bend in the rules which is a stick like snack that you either chew or cut and rub against your teeth for the flavor. It’s would have been an interesting little peek at a cultural snack but Lumley just comes off as rude complaining about the snack because she doesn’t quit under stand how its done, even accusing her guide of trying to cheat her on portions (weather this was meant to be comical or not, it just came off rude).
As we move on to the guide finding camels for them Lumley’s insistence on commenting that “Everything is beautiful” begins to come off as fake. Her narration in the documentary doesn’t feel genuine. This feeling pops up more and more as the documentary rolls on.
There are bits and pieces of information coming along as we move on, but for the most part the documentary seems to be about Lumley; her experiences as a young girl traveling with her family to Egypt, how miserable the heat is for her and how unaccommodating hotels in Cairo are, and even how unimpressed she is when the locals tell her of their experiences on the Nile. Her reaction when a local tells her he’d seen a demon in the lake was enough to make me want to turn the program off. Regardless of what you believe, as the host, elaborate on it, just don’t give the guy a look as if he’s somehow beneath you and stop talking all together.
The program is cut up into four parts in which Lumley stumbles through each as if she is, ironically, the “Ugly American”. It just came off as a paid vacation with all the useful information being sapped out by Lumley’s me approach. Some information was enjoyable, but this special should have gone with a different host.