My live tweet of the first episode of Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey

Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey

Last Friday, during my lunch break, I started watching the first part of Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey, a ‘documentary’ in which Lumley goes around Greece at ITV1’s expense, making increasingly stupid, inaccurate and clueless comments about the country, its culture and history.

In episode 1, she started in Athens before making her way round to Evia, the Mani penisula and then up to Olympia. During this time, she came up with many exciting ‘facts’: the Persians invaded Greece 1,500 years ago (that probably came as news to the Byzantine Empire which was occupying Greece at the time), that the Greeks created the Acropolis in Athens (they built the Parthenon on the Acropolis, but not the Acropolis itself) or that in modern Greece it’s illegal to throw plates in restaurants so now they throw flowers instead – actually, you can break plates if the restaurant has a licence to so. If you’re very good, I won’t post the pictures of me dancing the Zorba dance while we smash plates in a Greek restaurant as proof.

Anyway, so incensed did I become that I ended up live Tweeting the whole thing. Others joined in. This is our story.

PS Should you wish to watch the episode, it’s available on the ITVPlayer.


  • SK

    No idea about the programme, but I love the idea of applying for a crockery-breaking licence.

  • The other David

    While I didn’t live tweet the show, I had to turn it off after about 30 minutes (about the part where Ms. Lumley goes picking for asparagus with the grandma). The inane, trivial and superficial comments and asides were the best clue that they’d picked someone to headline this program who doesn’t have a clue about history or cultures. The show (because it certainly couldn’t/shouldn’t be called a documentary) was more about Ms. Lumley than the history of Greece or its impact on Western civilization. It was a facile use of Greek history and culture to showcase Ms. Lumley — and that was it. A total waste of time, effort, and money.
    BTW, I was chuckling at your constant references to Ms. Bettany Hughes in your tweets because I just watched a RTS Huw Wheldon Lecture 2011 with, you guessed it, Ms. Hughes as the lecturer. While the subject of the lecture was, “TV: Modern Father of History”, reading this made me think of what she made of this program (if she could be made to sink so low). Fortunately, Ms. Hughes didn’t highlight bad history programs (although it did feature a clip from Egypt’s Lost Cities with those gasping i***ts Dallas Campbell and Liz Bonnin), but how good history can be presented and why it should be presented on TV. This should be among one of the first examples of how not to do a history show in TV if ever there was one.

  • That Egypt’s Lost Cities thing was absolutely dreadful but this was worse. Have to still to watch the divine Bettany’s lecture.

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