- Radio Times
- Review by:
- Jane Anderson
Roger Deakin, the wonderful writer, committed environmentalist and prolific wild swimmer, composed the best definition of the difference between an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor lido: “A swimming pool is to a lido what underwear is to lingerie.”
Deakin is not alone in his warm/borderline erotic fondness for the great British lido. This entirely joyful programme is packed full of fans, from comedian Arthur Smith to design critic Stephen Bayley, via novelist Vikram Seth and spin supremo Alastair Campbell. Stephen Smith, Newsnight’s culture correspondent, is the lido lizard whose job it is to don his trunks and have a natter and a plunge with them.
Every line is an invitation to tear off your clothes and throw yourself into the water, whether the weather is hot, cold or drizzly. According to Vikram Seth the latter conditions provide the perfect setting for a dip: “Swimming backstroke in a fine drizzle — what could be more pleasurable than that?”
But not all our lido fanatics are in it solely for the pleasure. Alastair Campbell had to work for Tony Blair while he swam. “I have made phone calls from the pool,” he tells Smith. When asked if he can recall them he retorts, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” How many journalists can claim to have received a death threat from Alastair Campbell dressed only in trunks?
About this programme
Stephen Smith celebrates the history of Britain's lidos, outdoor swimming pools built from the 1930s for people to enjoy an approximation of Riviera life. The advent of the package holiday in the 1960s and 70s caused the popularity of lidos to drop, but Stephen sets out to prove they are still relevant, with the help of comedian Arthur Smith and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.
Cast and crew
- Stephen Smith
- Arthur Smith
- Alastair Campbell
- Adele Armstrong