Saturday, March 28, 2009

TheTVObserver: HBO - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

I was excited, a while back, when informed that HBO was filming a new series in Botswana. The six-episode series began airing in the UK on 15 March 2009 and it will premier on HBO in the US starting 29 March 2009. It is co-produced by the BBC and HBO, and based on the novels of the same name by Alexander McCall Smith.

The production was initially envisaged as a film rather than a television adaptation. The pilot episode was shot on location in Botswana. It is the first major production to be filmed in Botswana and the government reportedly provided five million dollars of funding for the project. It is reported that the producers signed a 10-year-lease in 2007 for the area at the bottom of Kgale Hill in Gaborone locally known as "Kgalewood" where the detective agency set is locate

This Sunday, March 29 at 8 pm is HBO premiere of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency based in Botswana.. The novels focus on the story of a detective agency opened by Mma Ramotswe and her courtship with the mechanic Mr. JLB Matekoni. The series is filmed on location in Botswana and is the first major film or television production to be undertaken in the country

As a young girl growing up in the African nation of Botswana, Precious Ramotswe was encouraged by her father to follow her dreams, no matter what. Now in her mid-30s, Precious is doing just that — by opening her country's first and only female-owned detective agency for the benefit of those who need help the most.

The first major film/TV project to be shot entirely on location in Botswana, 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' is based on the best-selling novels by Alexander McCall Smith and co-written and executive produced by Richard Curtis and the late Anthony Minghella.

Like McCall's novels, the series chronicles the adventures of Precious Ramotswe (Jill Scott), the cheerful, eminently sensible proprietor of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, located in the Kgale Hill Shopping Center on the outskirts of Gaborone. Aided by her efficient yet high-strung secretary Grace Makutsi (Anika Noni Rose), Precious investigates a variety of cases, helping townspeople solve mysteries in their lives, from missing children to philandering husbands to con-artist scams.

Precious Ramotswe exemplifies the courageous efforts by real-life Africans to improve the quality of their lives while preserving their culture. Though Precious brings a playful, even innocent, exuberance to her job, the "mysteries" she investigates are quite serious, and include child kidnapping, poverty, organized crime, health crises, spousal abandonment and infidelity — ongoing problems that confront many Africans (and Americans) today.

In the lead role of Precious Ramotswe is Jill Scott, the R&B singer/songwriter who has won three Grammy® Awards since 2005, branching out into acting with 2007's 'Hounddog' (her debut, as Big Mama Thornton) and 'Why Did I Get Married?' Other regulars include Anika Noni Rose ('Dreamgirls') as Precious' quirky secretary Grace, Lucian Msamati as her devoted suitor JLB, and Desmond Dube ('Hotel Rwanda') as her neighbor BK, a flamboyant hairdresser. Guest stars include David Oyelowo (HBO's 'Five Days' and 'As You Like It'), Idris Elba (HBO's 'The Wire' and 'Sometimes in April'), Colin Salmon ('Die Another Day'), and Tony® winner John Kani ('Final Solution').

The pilot (which debuted on the BBC in 2008) is the last film directed by Anthony Minghella ('Cold Mountain,' Best Director Oscar® for 'The English Patient'), who co-wrote its script with Richard Curtis (Oscar® nominee for 'Four Weddings and a Funeral,' Emmy® winner for HBO's 'The Girl in the CafĂ©'). The pilot was produced by the late Sydney Pollack (Oscar®-winning director of 'Out of Africa' and 'Tootsie'), Timothy Bricknell ('Cold Mountain') and Amy J. Moore.

Here is a promo.

Grammy® Award-winning singer Jill Scott stars as series heroine Precious Ramotswe, who has become one of the most beloved characters in international contemporary fiction. Anika Noni Rose ('Dreamgirls') stars as Mma Makutsi and Lucian Msamati stars as Mma Ramotswe's devoted suitor JLB Matekoni.

Jill Scott in Botswana with CNN

For more information on this series visit

By TheTVObserver
© 2009. TheTVObserver. All Rights Reserved. Pictures used on TheTVObseRver graphics and information sourced from third parties are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. © 2009 Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 2009 BBC. All Rights Reserved.

No comments: