The Real Marigold Hotel, currently airing on BBC One, follows eight famous faces as they explore their new Puducherry home in India and explore the continent.
Loosely based on the 2011 comedy starring Judy Dench and Billy Nighy, the reality travel show follows the older participants as they explore India whilst deciding whether retirement in the South Asia country would suit them.
So far we’ve seen the group take a dip in the Indian Ocean, try yoga, look into local medical practices and try their hand at cooking traditional feasts, but what do we know about our celebrity travellers?
Britt Ekland (BBC)
So far we’ve seen Britt struggle with the Indian heat and find herself overwhelmed by cow prayers in the city of Vellore, but who is the former Bond girl?
The Swedish actress and singer starred in classics such as The Wicker Man, Get Carter and The Man with the Golden Gun alongside Roger Moore’s James Bond. Her high profile marriage to comedian Peter Sellers in the ’60s was covered extensively by the press at the time.
Britt opened up to Henry Blofeld about her marriage to Peter Sellers on the show. “I just turned 21 and I’d known him for ten days, I would not recommend it,” she said. “He was a manic depressive, bipolar. He would sit at the table and he would have this whole room in stitches and then once we came home, there was no Peter Sellers, there was no man behind the mask.”
More recently, she participated in the 2010 series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here and the Swedish version of Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.
Speaking of her time on The Real Marigold Hotel, Ekland said that the most memorable part of the trip was the camaraderie. “I felt we were a great mixture and team of people, and I’ve made several new friends.”
Duncan Bannatyne (BBC)
Entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne has embraced Indian life so far, immersing himself in the ancient Indian practice of yoga.
The Scottish businessman has run multiple ventures during his career, most notably the Bannatyne Health Club and Spa chain. From 2005 until 2015, he was a Dragon on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den during which time he invested in 36 businesses. In 2004, Bannatyne was awarded an OBE for his work with charities, such as Mary’s Meals.
The Health club honcho bonded “mostly with Paul, John and Britt” on the trip, forming an “everlasting bond with all three of them”.
Dame Zandra Rhodes
Dame Zandra Rhodes (BBC)
We’ve watched Dame Zandra Rhodes consider a peaceful retirement in the India, but who is the fashion designer?
Rhodes is best known for designing outfits for various celebrities, including Princess Diana of Wales, and founding the London Fashion and Textile Museum in 2003.
The award-winning designer’s stand out moments from the trip included “collecting tamarind pods and veg for making tomato chutney” and visiting her old embroidery studios in Chennai “where all of [her] beaded dress were made”.
Paul Chuckle (BBC)
For ChuckleVision’s Paul Elliott, the trip didn’t get off to a good start after the comedian was struck down with an upset stomach but we’ve since seen him visit one of Punducherry’s leading hospitals and take up Indian driving lessons.
Paul is best known for starring in the BBC children’s programme alongside his late brother Barry, who sadly died in 2018.
Beginning their television careers in 1967, the Chuckle Brothers first appeared on Opportunity Knocks before launching ChuckleVision in 1987, which aired until 2009. Before Barry’s death, the pair competed in the 2010 series of Celebrity Coach Trip and appeared at the 2016 Royal Variety Performance.
Paul’s time in India made him realise that he loves the sun “but not that hot”, but he would return to the country, saying it’s “such a friendly nation and your money goes a long, long way”.
Henry Blofeld (BBC)
On the trip so far, we’ve seen Henry Blofeld visit an Ayurvedic doctor to ail his aches and pains and take up yoga therapy, but what do we know about the sports broadcaster?
Best known as a cricket commentator for BBC Radio 4’s Test Match Special and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sports Extra, Blofeld was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2003.
Outside of cricket, Blofeld appeared on BBC One’s Room 101 in 2015 and Would I Lie to You in 2017.
The ex-commentator said that his role on the trip was that of “the jolly chap who had visited India many times and loved pretty well everything we saw or did”.
John Altman (BBC)
The youngest member of the celebrity group, we’ve seen EastEnders actor John Altman coaxed into practicing yoga with Duncan and attempt to cook a traditional Tamil feast.
Altman played Nick Cotton on a semi-regular basis from 1985 until 2015, when his character was killed off during the show’s 30th anniversary episode.
During his career, the actor has appeared on Pointless Celebrities, The Weakest Link and Soapstar Superchef.
He noted that The Real Marigold Hotel allowed him “to reflect over how the last 50 years I’ve changed, and what an extraordinary time it’s been”.
Susie Blake (BBC)
Actress Susie Blake, best known for Mrs Brown’s Boys, has been impressed with what India has to offer so far, having visited an Ayurvedic doctor and serving up a Tamil feast for the rest of the group.
She portrayed Bev Unwin in Coronation Street from 2003 until 2006, but made a guest appearance in 2015. More recently, the actress has appeared on Casualty, Murder on the Blackpool Express and BBC Three comedy Cuckoo.
Speaking of her time in India, she said the memorable part of the trip was the lodgings in Puducherry: “From the rooms, shower in cold water that was never cold, to the food I was dreading which I absolutely loved to the beautiful staff and divine host.”
Barbara Dickson (BBC)
Scottish singer Barbara Dickson is the chanteuse of the celeb group, with hits such as ‘I Know Him So Well’ and ‘January February’.
Fifteen of Dickson’s albums have placed on the UK Albums Chart during her career, while on stage, the singer originated the role of Mrs Johnstone in musical Blood Brothers, for which she won an Olivier Award in 2000. Dickson was awarded an OBE in 2002 for her services to Music and Drama.
Dickson said that there was “remarkably little ego trouble” on the India trip and wants to go back to the country, having never been before this experience.
The Real Marigold Hotel airs Thursdays on BBC One at 9pm. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.