GET the kettle on – “milk and two sugars” – for a TV travel treat this Sunday.
No, it’s not that nice Michael Palin. He’s still working on his new television epic.
Due to be broadcast this autumn, it has the working title: New Europe With Michael Palin.
So step forward Victoria Wood and three-part BBC1 series Victoria’s Empire.
You can read more about it in today’s MEN TV feature here.
And there’s more…
The Bury-raised writer, actress and comedy star impressed in 2004 with two-part Victoria Wood’s Big Fat Documentary.
But Victoria’s Empire is, dare I say it, worthy of St Michael himself.
Surveying the peeling remnants of the British Empire in India, she remarks: “I’ve got a very scary-looking electric fire in my hotel room.
“I think it might have belonged to Ghandi.”
Victoria discusses the “monumental arrogance” of our ancestors placing British buildings in India.
“I suppose we thought we were just giving them our best buildings.
“We liked the Bank of England and Leeds Town Hall, and we thought they would too.”
Watching the first programme, I wished Victoria had been my history teacher at school.
She explains the origins of the British Empire and the importance of trade relationships in a clear and entertaining way.
I spoke to her about the series late last year.
She said: “I go as a complete ignoramus. I know nothing about the British Empire or how we ended up with an Empire.”
And her own view on the rights and wrongs of the now long lost British Empire?
“I didn’t feel it was my right to form any opinion, going from country to country.
“All I would do was talk to people.
“In India they said, ‘You’ve left us a marvellous filing system and reading and writing and office practice.’
“In Malaysia, they’d got their education system from the British.
“The Aborigines, I could barely look them in the face. They said, ‘You’ve taken our country.’
“I couldn’t really deny it. It’s different in every country.
“There is no one Empire. And most of it was to do with trade, coffee, cocoa, sugar, various addictions.
“The Empire is built on slavery and addiction.”
Victoria’s Empire begins on BBC1 at 8pm this Sunday.
Victoria’s Empire: The Book
Victoria Wood’s Big Fat Documentary
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