VIBE – Tuesdays from 16 February, 9.30pm
Vibe is proud to present a spirited new drama series about one woman’s crusade for justice, one case at a time. Based on the best-selling novels by Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency tells the uplifting fictional story of a Botswana woman who fulfils a long-time dream – and bucks daunting odds – by opening her country’s first and only female-owned detective agency.
As a young girl growing up in the African nation of Botswana, Precious Ramotswe (Grammy® Award winner Jill Scott), was encouraged by her father to follow her dreams, no matter what. Now in her mid-30s, the cheerful, wise and eminently sensible Precious is doing just that, embarking on an improbable career that utilises her unique gifts of inquisition and intuition to benefit those who need help the most. Aided by her efficient yet high-strung secretary Grace Makutsi (Anika Noni Rose, Dreamgirls), Precious investigates a variety of cases, helping townspeople solve “mysteries” in their lives, from missing children to philandering husbands to con-artist scams. She also begins a special friendship with a widowed suitor, the owner of a local garage.
The production pedigree for this HBO/BBC co-production is exceptional. The late Academy Award® winning director Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain, Best Director Oscar® for The English Patient) was a known fan of the books, and was the director, co-writer and executive producer of the feature length pilot episode. “Filming The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in Botswana was an amazing adventure. The people were marvellous and the landscape, especially in the northern areas of the country, is extraordinary. Particularly fascinating to me was working and filming in an African country where old and new are currently coexisting, where traditional values have not yet been eroded by the demands and efficiencies and neuroses of the modern. It was a privilege to be working on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa, and not what we think we can teach it” said Minghella.
DID YOU KNOW?
This is the first major film or television production to be undertaken in Botswana.
Zimbabwean-born Scotsman Alexander McCall Smith, author of the international bestselling novels on which the series is based, is also a respected Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh.
Jill Scott is an American R&B singer/songwriter and has won three Grammy awards since 2005, while co-star Anika Noni Rose won a Tony award for a lead role on Broadway.
The decision to cast Jill Scott as Mma Precious Ramotswe was made just two weeks before production began. 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 no joke, and include child kidnapping, poverty, organised crime, health crises, spousal abandonment and infidelity – ongoing problems that confront many Africans today.
Both Anthony Minghella and fellow executive producer, Sydney Pollack (Oscar® winning director of Out of Africa and Tootsie) passed away before the full series entered production, so the remainder of the series was helmed by NZ born co-writer Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Oscar® nominee for Four Weddings and a Funeral).