Celebrities test whether retirement in India is better than in the UK. The group visit the world-famous backwaters on traditional houseboats.
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a country that overwhelms the senses.
The Garden of Eden must have been as beautiful as this.
With year-round warm weather...
and a low cost of living.
Could this be the perfect place to retire?
If you'd won the lottery, where would you choose to be?
I'm going there almost as a child, with my eyes wide open.
Inspired by the blockbuster film,
eight well-known faces are spending a month in Kochi,
in the south of India...
Oh! Sorry. Oh!
..to see if living out their golden years here
could be a real alternative.
Oh, my God. I look fantastic.
-We started to dance down the street.
I never thought I would ever do that at my age.
Whatever, it's new and exciting, I haven't done it yet. Let's do it.
-And let go.
But will the challenges of India prove a step too far?
Calm down, everybody. Chill pill.
There's something down there that feels like it shouldn't be.
Or could this incredible country give them real food for thought?
I can't help being excited by India.
It's a chilly autumn morning at London's Heathrow Airport.
At the departure terminal
is 80-year-old ex-Coronation Street actor Amanda Barrie.
We've thought many, many times about
where would be the ideal place where we would retire.
Well, we have considered everywhere.
I'm here to audition India to see if it comes up to scratch.
Amanda, how are you?
Also on this journey is 67-year-old snooker champion Dennis Taylor.
How lovely to meet you.
I'm a big fan of Coronation Street, you know, I used to love it.
I'm looking forward to it.
And 69-year-old Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson.
-Oh, my God, how are you?
Oh, so lovely to meet you.
-Dennis Taylor, how are you?
-How are you?
'I'm about to make a move'
and the move hopefully will be the last move before I'm in my grave.
'Changing countries is not a big deal for me.
'I've never been to India,'
so why don't I give it a crack?
-Now we're going to be living together for a month, huh?
You think we'll survive it?
I can't get out of cars any more.
Next to arrive is 75-year-old former Goodie
and wildlife expert Bill Oddie.
-How are you doing?
-This is jet lag.
-It's to stop jet lag.
Who cares about jet lag? Let's get the Imodium going.
And 67-year-old chef Rustie Lee.
-'Moving to India,
I really want to see everything for the first time.
'I want to look at it and think,'
"Is this somewhere I'd like to live?"
The other travellers on this Indian adventure
are 79-year-old TV doctor and agony aunt Miriam Stoppard.
Oh, my God, look at the gorgeous girls.
And 72-year-old Just Good Friends star, Paul Nicholas.
-How are you, darling?
-Just what I needed first thing!
-Oh, such a...
Last to arrive is the oldest member of the group...
..87-year-old dancer Lionel Blair.
-Dennis, it's lovely to see you.
-Long time no see, eh?
-What are we doing?
-What are we doing?!
-'I'd love to live in a warm climate.'
I'd love to wake up every morning with the sun shining.
I would love that.
They're flying over 5,000 miles to Kochi
in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
With a tropical climate, and a low cost of living,
its residents enjoy one of the longest life expectancies in India.
Here we are, Miriam. We're in Kochi.
I'm not very...
I just had a wheel crisis.
# Forget your troubles Come on, get happy! #
Welcome to India.
-Put the luggage where?
-Whatever happened to ladies first?
Sir, driving time is one hour, sir. It depends on the traffic.
Dennis is my name. Don't say sir, Jose.
-I like Dennis.
-Not sir. Not sir.
-No, sir. OK.
And no ma'ams. We're Miriam and Shirley.
-Sorry. Miriam and Sheila.
Shirley's one of the best singers I've never heard.
It's very tropical. I didn't expect it to be so green.
-The green magic.
-The green magic, is it?
I like that.
For the next four weeks, home will be the port of Old Kochi,
known locally as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
They'll be living alongside the locals
to see whether this could be the perfect place for them to retire.
Jose, I'd like to use the toilet, is there one nearby?
Real close by.
I need to have a wee.
Is there anywhere I could...? Is there a toilet?
-You can get key.
-Ah. Who's got the key?
Last shop. Ah, the last shop.
I don't really have many preconceived ideas about India.
-I feel like I'm opening a business.
We will be charging to go.
I'll let you know how it is.
So, to me, I'm going there almost as a child, with my eyes wide open,
'to sort of take it in as I get there.
'I kind of like the idea of that.'
-Do you need to use the toilet?
-It's five rupees.
I'm very into the toilet system here now.
To reach their new home, they're taking the commuter ferry
costing them four Indian rupees, the equivalent of 5p.
So, these people are coming to work here?
Instead of good morning you can say "Namaste".
I don't think that was a very good idea.
I've never had such a terrible look back in my life.
-'If you went through the list of the reasons
'people retire to far-away places,'
you know, the weather's one of them, but, I mean,
'the first time we went to India in this little group of bird-watchers,
'we couldn't believe how cheap everything was, you know.
'The cost of living is just sort of unreal.'
The rent for an average three-bedroom family house
in Old Kochi is just over £30 a week.
Oh! Look at these goats.
Please, be careful.
Is this where we're living?
-Oh, my goodness.
It's another world.
'Going to India is nerve-racking, it really is.
'Things like sanitation and everything,
'I hope that that is OK because I find that...'
cleanliness is next to godliness, as they say.
but I'm very clean.
Oh, my dear friends, this is your house.
This is your home.
Built in the 16th century by Portuguese merchants,
this house will become a unique retirement home
for the next month...
We've got a reception committee.
..where these eight strangers will need to learn to live together.
Greeting the group is housekeeper Smita.
-Hi, how are you?
How many times have you been sitting around at a dinner party
and at some point somebody said, "We could buy somewhere?
"We could all live together and we could all eat together."
India, I think, shrieks that.
It's got the edge on Eastbourne, quite frankly.
He threw the holy water all over my glasses and I can't see a thing.
This is just what the doctor ordered, if I may say so.
Walking through that door and seeing women dancing.
-Let's not leave out the guys.
They looked pretty hot too. You know what I'm saying?
But don't look at me like that.
I just wanted to check.
There are two rooms which are downstairs
and there's six rooms upstairs,
so if anybody has a preference to not climbing stairs?
-Well, you know,
I think we just have keys and we take the room and it's potluck.
-That's OK with me.
-So, would it be a help for you to be downstairs?
No, I need a veranda upstairs.
My daughters think I'm a control freak.
I don't know why they think that.
It's just, there's a natural order in the universe.
Some people follow, some people lead.
And I tend to lead.
-Since you've requested...
-..the veranda room.
Thank you. Let's do it.
I love that I'm in the John Thomas...
That's the name of your room.
-It can't be!
-What comes with this room?
Do you know what John Thomas is?
-You'll find out.
We were talking to the driver,
I was talking about where to go to get a sari made.
I think I'll talk to you.
At 69, single Sheila is used to living on her own.
-OK, I'll be right down.
-If you need anything, just shout out to me.
-Thank you. As I've been doing.
-OK, thank you.
I have a lot of clothes.
I'll work something out.
If not, I'll use somebody else's room to hang a few things.
There's always a way.
Oh, that's beautiful. That's absolutely gorgeous.
This is the main man's room.
I mean, there's two double beds in the room.
-I might push them together.
-Where's Bill? I want his room. Where's Bill?
-I don't know.
I'm going to get unpacked before somebody wants to swap.
There'll be no swapping here.
Oh, man. Oh!
Oh, my God!
Oh, my God.
Oh, my God!
Right, don't tell anybody.
This is the one.
Life's not fair but you've got to work the angles.
-Hi. Do you want to change rooms with me?
So that I could have the... Well, you've got a bath tub.
-Let me have a look at what you've got.
Oh, no, that is fine.
-That is fine. Yeah.
-Are you sure?
-Oh, bless you.
-That's all right.
Cos I've got so much luggage.
-You're very welcome. And you can probably...
That's what the British call a right result.
I've found it. I've found the knob.
There it is, in all its glory.
I was forbidden to bring it, but I'm a rebel
so I brought it.
It feels good to have a house full of guests.
They seem like an interesting bunch of people.
And I think we need a couple of days to get to know each other
and figure each other out.
And I do think that India will be an eye-opener for them.
Most people, when they come to India, they love it or they hate it,
but you're never indifferent to it.
For the next four weeks,
the group will be eating all of their meals together.
It's very subtle flavours, aren't there?
My favourite is when my wife makes stew and dumplings.
I adore it.
-Well, we'll probably have that.
-With lots of gravy.
-I love that.
-LIONEL SNEEZES VIOLENTLY
-Oh, my God, Lionel!
-Jesus. Darling, are you all right?
I thought your head had fallen off for a minute.
Oh, I do love a good sneeze.
I want to see how this compares with the Western world.
I'm really excited about the mystic side of India.
-A certain amount of disillusion.
It was the hippie pilgrimage to come over here and then...
I'm not sure I've heard of anybody going to India
to find themselves for many a year now, really.
Well, maybe we might find ourselves again, who knows?
I'm not lost, but you never know.
-No, my son did a gap year and he came here and he loved it.
But he didn't come back a hippie or, you know...
He said it's beautiful.
-Well, I haven't seen the beauty yet.
-But we haven't travelled anywhere yet so...
This makes you go to the loo...
Just to steady me down in a new place.
And to calm me down and let me sleep.
'I'm out of my depth a bit here.'
I was a bit shocked because...
it's in an area that's a bit...
..for want of a better word, a bit shantytown
and a bit, you know... I mean, when I first started touring,
I've stayed in places like this.
I'm hoping that I'm going to be able to cope.
That case is going to lie on the bed next to me
because this is the side of the bed I sleep on at home.
And I'm going to imagine that my wife is lying there next to me
and that will make me feel much better.
And Little Ted will be in the middle.
The eight senior citizens have a month to work out
if this is a place that they could set down roots.
And their first taste of living like a local
is starting their day with a yoga class.
Their teacher is Raj,
who has specially designed a course of yoga for them.
-Because I have a bad back.
So, let's start. Hands on your hip.
And slowly, head right side, first.
Slowly to the left.
I have done yoga quite a few times at various points in life.
And at the end of the day, to sort of be a little fat bloke...
..trying to get into positions which only thin, young people should do,
I know that's not the spirit of yoga or anything,
but I can't take it seriously.
Open your mouth and put your tongue down.
All the stress is now going out.
You'll all come up with pulled muscles!
I bet the thing you'd really kill for is a cup of coffee, right?
That's my light, that's my salvation.
I don't know what we're going to do...
We'll get him down here one morning.
Mm. Nectar of the gods, that is.
-Are you relaxed?
Welcome. Thank you.
The house comes with staff who will clean,
tidy and cook for them at a cost of £20 a week per person.
-I'd love a cup of tea.
-That would be lovely, thank you.
But if they're going to consider living here,
they need to discover what the neighbourhood offers them.
I just needed to know what you wanted today.
Yes, I was just saying to Bill, my wife, who's very, very, very good,
she's packed my case and everything, but she forgot...
I've only got two pairs of underpants.
-You can borrow my knickers.
-So, that is my main task of today.
-Finding some underpants.
-So we'll go and explore the market.
Yes. I'm going to the market to get food.
-Rustie, what do you need to shop for?
I'm shopping for chicken, spices.
It's just that I need to know where to take you to get stuff.
-Oh, I see.
-Because you will not get chicken at the same place
-that you'll get spices.
'I would expect to have staff in India because'
you've worked to pay for someone to do that
so you can be able to be freed up
to do other things.
But cooking food is a major part of my life
and it will be well into my retirement.
As far as the shopping's concerned, I think the food people can do that.
-They look what they are doing.
-So where are you going, then?
-Actually, we ought to give them a job to do, shouldn't we?
We'll delegate. If it's near and if it's open, the fish,
what's good for local and what's what, you know?
-I'll come back with two goldfish.
-Have to go and get my bag.
-Smita, how far is the walk?
-40 minutes or so.
A 40, F-O minute walk?
-Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Come on. Come on.
-I'll bring up the rear.
-Come on. Come on.
Some people are outdoor chicks and some people are indoor chicks.
Oh, my goodness.
The temperature's killing me.
Sheila, Rustie and Miriam are heading to Kaloor market
in the centre of Old Kochi.
These goats are all tied up and behaving nicely.
They better, before they get slaughtered.
-They'll be dinner.
In other parts where there is lamb, they eat lamb,
but generally it's goat.
I'll be with you in a minute. Go ahead.
I'll be back, I'll be back. Go and get the food, children.
'After my divorce, I sold my home and I moved to Majorca,
'figuring it was a better climate'
and I have total anonymity in Mallorca
and nobody knows what I do.
I'm used to being alone.
I'm not used to being with people.
-Oh, where's Sheila?
-Where is she?
-No, I'm coming.
There's nothing in my style.
'Conceivably I could go the whole week'
and don't have any contact with human beings,
'emotionally or physically.'
-It looks lovely.
Housekeeper Smita shops here regularly for fruit and vegetables
for the house.
Honey and... Chilies, chilies, chilies.
-Is this koorka?
What food means to me is joy, entertainment, relaxation.
-They have okra.
Yeah, I've seen the okra.
I love a market. It's tremendous to me.
'It's got its own music.'
I need some chilies.
I want garlic, onions, tomatoes.
You've got to tell him how much, my dear.
-Darling, I'm a chef.
-No, no, but I'm just saying.
-Yeah? So, the plantains, how much?
-I think we should move on.
In search for Paul's underpants.
I need to... I need to buy some underpants.
I'm not sure you'll get underpants over there.
But you can try the shop on your left.
-That's open, Fab India.
Down on the right-hand side.
In Kerala, English is widely spoken.
Hello there. Could I buy some briefs?
-You don't have briefs.
Palace Street, how do you spell that?
Don't worry, I'll find it.
Sorry. But that's a woman's shop.
-As far as we know, he's got a pair on
but you can't get through three or four weeks in India,
soggy old atmosphere,
with one pair of underpants, can you?
-Do you sell them?
Even if you wash them now and again. So I know what he means.
No, no. Brief pants.
-Yeah, you know, underpants.
Small pants. You don't have them? Ah.
What is this, underpant app?
No, no, I did text the...my wife.
-"Hello, love." This is me.
"Just had breakfast and I'm going to look for underpants
"as I don't seem to have any. Speak soon."
And she has sent back,
"You had six pairs in your suitcase.
"I put three white ones in, and then you gave me three dark ones.
"Odd. New tiles should arrive Tuesday."
-What has that got to do with it? New tiles.
-She just wants to let me know.
-I'll match that.
My text yesterday says, "Bought new toilet."
-Well, there you go.
-There you go.
Perhaps our wives are moving in together.
-The minute you go out the house...
-They're on it, aren't they?
-..they're buying porcelain things.
Kerala is famous worldwide for its fish.
THEY SING IN OWN LANGUAGE
Just 200 metres from the house are the local fishing nets.
Lionel, Amanda and Dennis are in search of their fresh fish supper.
-We might want to buy some fish.
-No problem, come on.
These traditional levered fishing nets allow the locals
to trawl the shallow water's edge every few minutes
to maximise their catch.
Can you explain the song, what the song means?
Yeah, this is the fisherman song.
-It's very good catching.
-A catching song.
-Yes, catching the fish.
And the song...
HE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE
-And it also makes everybody happy.
THEY SING IN OWN LANGUAGE
-I like it.
-This could be a number one.
-Let's say you are pulling...
..the song and you are happy, OK?
-No standing on the rope.
-No, because you, "wooft!" in the air.
-Into outer space.
THEY SING IN OWN LANGUAGE
-'My father was a big, keen fisherman.'
I wish I knew the words to this song.
'And he'd go off,'
Oh, he spent all his time...
I've got some lovely photographs of him fishing.
Bored me to tears when I was a youngster.
I love how they catch fish in India.
Just not the traditional way that it is in the UK.
-What did we catch?
They're a bit more exciting fishing.
What's the best fish for...?
-The snapper, yeah? Snapper is the best.
-The snapper is better.
-Can I buy some snapper?
It's for maybe eight people.
-Yeah, four fish.
-How much for four fish?
Four fish, just the small ones, 650 rupees.
-So, 650... How many?
-Thank you, sir, have a nice day.
Oh, my God, look!
It's like blood. I think it's off the fish.
It's a crime scene.
You see, I knew I should bring my Vanish.
BICYCLE BELL RINGS
I'm not mad on shopping.
You know, I'm always amazed when I go shopping with my wife
that her face changes.
You're like hunters.
And it does take some time sometimes.
-Variety Men's Wear.
I can sense the presence.
Ah, this looks like us, son.
'I'm one of these guys that kind of'
knows what he wants and I'm in there and I'm out in 30 seconds.
Oh, look, there's a picture of you outside.
We won't be long. Thank you.
Thank you very much.
-How do you know you won't be long?
Morning. Men's underwear?
Yes, lovely. Thank you.
-They've got them.
-Thank you very much.
Bill, I was going to buy six but as I'm feeling a bit queasy,
I think I better buy eight.
Is it possible to see one out of the packet?
Oh, look, come on. Oh, yes.
-Look what they say.
Chocolate brown. "Playboy, Playboy, Playboy," honestly.
So, that's just over eight quid for eight pairs of underpants.
-Thank you very much indeed.
-You've saved my life.
-Actually I had a ball. I had a ball.
-We all had a great time, actually.
I'm used to doing my own thing my own way.
And also do you know what I realised?
I'm so used to living alone,
it's the first time I've been with people 24/7.
-Smita, a very successful mission.
And I bought them with you in mind.
With you in mind. I got the medium by the way.
I didn't want to get large.
-Er, but, I didn't barter.
-Nobody barters that much.
-No, it's ridiculous.
-Especially in a shop like that.
It took me back to going to the Caribbean.
Have a look at this, I...
-Look, covered in blood.
-We've been fishing.
-I thought it was a patterned shirt.
-It's a lovely design, dear.
-Ah, there they are.
-Ah! Brilliant, bay leaf.
Despite having a cook,
67-year-old chef Rustie can't resist getting involved.
-We have one cook with many helpers.
-We've got a chef as well so...
-The chef is helper today.
-Do you want them sliced?
Washed. They've to be washed so just peel them, peel them.
Varghese has been a cook for the past 40 years.
Having a cook in India, that'll be great
because I will be able to learn the techniques from them
and they will be able to learn techniques from me.
May I have a look?
Let me look. Let me have a look.
-Stop, let's have a look.
Oh, sorry. More, a bit more. Yeah.
They're saying too many cooks, get out of my kitchen.
I wouldn't call it a control thing, I would call it being a homemaker.
This will take a good hour and a bit. Yes.
-That's why we need to shifty along.
Right, the local off-licence.
-Welcome to my tuk-tuk...
-I want a little Indian lager.
-You have air conditioning I see.
-On a booze run, huh?
-How far is it? Do we know?
-It's about five minutes, apparently.
-I'm looking forward to...
-What do you fancy? A little...
A few cold beers and a little bit of lemonade for me, I think.
A very good drink with snooker players,
whisky and Windolene.
You still get drunk every night but in the morning,
-your eyes are as clear as a bell.
Unlike in Britain,
the sale of alcohol in the state of Kerala has strict limitations
and is only permitted at government-run stores.
-£11 to book one of these guys all day.
-Oh, right, yep.
Very good value, don't you think?
We'll have a couple of days, I think.
Paul and Dennis have enlisted the help of Smita
to source the group's booze the local way.
Just bear in mind, I've never done this.
-I'm only doing it for you.
-I don't believe a word of it.
-You're here every day...
-..to buy your alcohol.
But you have to stand in line.
It's OK, I'm used to being at the end of a CUE.
You need to know what you want.
We need a couple of bottles of white wine.
-You cannot say that.
-Is there a limit?
-So what's the limit?
-You can either buy...
-Five bottle... There's somebody else nicking your...
-It's OK. You just nipped in.
Pushing in, mate. I'm sticking close to this bloke.
-You can buy two bottles of alcohol...
..or five bottles of beer.
So you keep sending your family, different people to get, you know.
If you have a party, can you imagine how many trips you've got to do?
-And if you want to serve them beer.
-And the queue's getting longer.
By the end of the evening, it'll be down the road. Really?
Hello there. Could I have...?
-Oh, so sorry. Could I have one bottle of beer?
You want blue or premium?
-Which is best? Premium?
-Try the blue.
-Why, what's wrong with the blue? Premium.
I'll have the premium. Thank you. So what can I do now?
-Can I buy any more?
-Well, give me another bottle of the other one,
the blue. Is that enough?
-Would you like me to buy your wine on that?
-Ask him if we can get that.
Can I have a bottle of, what is it that you want?
-One bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
We're doing all right here.
"He reaches into his pocket for the money. Help me with this."
-Is that 1,000?
For eight bottles it costs £24.
And then you had 1,000 in your hand.
I've never bought a beer like this but what's good about it
is that you have to be quite precise about what you want
so you're not going to kind of waste your time.
I think that's right, isn't it? Two beers and two...
-One wine and one Bacardi, that's correct, isn't it?
Yeah, that is correct. Thank you. Have you got a bag?
OK, now they're all going to get impatient. Let's go.
-Have you ever seen anything like that in your life?
No, but it was very efficient.
No, but you know they were raving at me?
-We were slow?
"Are you going to take the entire day to buy two bottles?"
-Is that what they said?
-I hope you told them to piss off.
-No, I didn't!
DENNIS AND PAUL LAUGH
All right, see you back at the ranch.
Nice little balcony.
Yes, this is very nice.
-I'll just pour you a little beer.
-Is that a strong one?
This is the milder one, I think the strong one's too much,
you'll have to put some lemonade in it.
-You know, it's very pleasant.
-It's quite nice, isn't it?
-Good health, yeah.
That'll get Dennis homesick.
-"I thought I heard some Irish music then."
I have to say I'm loving the company here, you know?
They're all lovely in their different ways
and it is quite a lot of different ways, you know,
but having said that, you know, I think we'd all go a bit barmy
if you couldn't get away to your room for a bit, you know?
And so... This, I've got lucky here,
this is perfect cos this is a substitute for my garden at home,
-Can I have the bottle of water, please?
There it is, the bottle there, look.
Have you ever been to England?
No, not yet.
I said, "Is this the water?"
He said, "Yes," and I've started using that for the water.
Let's take the chicken out. Oh, for...
She's added about a quarter of a pound of vinegar to each pan.
So we're throwing away the juice and we're starting again.
It's, erm... We're trying to save it.
Well, we will save it. What a shame.
But it does smell of vinegar.
It's not my kitchen and being as we're in India,
and everyone says to use bottled water
so I thought, "Oh, they've put the bottled water there for me to use,"
so that's what I did and it was white vinegar.
Not being able to read the label.
-Have you got coconut cream?
-I'll have some coconut cream.
Oh, yeah, that would be good, wouldn't it?
Thank you, darling. Thank you.
Oh, he's got my hat.
That'll save my life tomorrow.
-Would you like something to drink?
-Water or tonic, anything.
-I'll get it.
-Thank you so much.
-What...? What are you doing?
You look like you've seen God.
I have got laugh-itus.
I have caught it from these dreadful people I'm with.
Everything has become a joke.
And now I can't stop laughing.
I have for you okra, onion with tomatoes,
-and chicken as well.
-Can we start?
I'm not saying anything.
Fingers crossed. If they don't like it, I'm sorry.
So, how long did this take to prepare, then, darling?
It's very good. It's very good.
Rustie, what's getting the little spice in the chicken?
-That's beautiful. What...?
-Have you tried...?
-Oh, have I ever. Yeah.
Anybody that doesn't like the chicken, just leave it there.
I think it tastes very nice now, but it was a panic.
I'm staying out of the cooking.
Good morning, Kochi.
You are listening to a very special programme today,
the weather is just beautiful and clear for celebrating Onam.
So let's enjoy it!
The group are waking up to their third morning
and a public holiday in Kerala.
I think we're going to see music, dance.
Oh, I didn't know that.
I'm going to go and have a wash.
Today is the most important date in the Keralan calendar,
the celebration of Onam.
Honouring the myth of a utopian paradise
which ended when its creator King Mahabali
was banished from the state.
Dennis, Paul, Sheila and Miriam are travelling four miles to Ernakulam,
the metropolitan centre of Kochi,
to visit the Onam procession.
They're coming from all over Kerala.
And, ladies and gentlemen, when you come to see the people
you can just wish them good morning.
To say thanks, you can say "nandi."
Nani, you know the footballer?
-Not "nani," "nan-nee."
-"Nani" means the lavatory.
"Nani" is the lavatory.
So "nan-nee nani" is, "Thanks for the toilet."
Governed by the Communist party,
this area of India prides itself on being the land of equals
and today is a chance for the Keralites
to celebrate living together harmoniously,
whatever their religion.
So, my dear friends, this is Mr Sandhu, he's a local guide here.
-Will there be music and stuff?
And in front of the elephants, we can see the people with the flutes.
-A bit of dancing as well, maybe?
-You can, we can. No problem.
That's why you're always smiling, yes?
-Because that's a trademark of Keralan people.
And we want to introduce ourselves through our smiles.
You are in God's own country.
-Yes, we are.
-Well, we certainly feel like that.
'I was brought up'
in an Orthodox Jewish home so I'm very, you know,
my childhood was festivals, all different kinds of festivals,
for all different reasons
and they punctuated the whole year.
I like dancing,
but I wouldn't dare dance with my family
because they'd just say, "Mum, stop that."
They've been saying that since they were, you know, five years old,
I wasn't allowed to dance with my sons.
Sandhu, what is the festival all about?
What is it celebrating?
Onam is the main celebration of Keralan people
and after the south-west monsoon,
we are getting ready to celebrate our harvest festival.
-Do you have to be a Hindu to take part in it or...?
So you mean in the procession,
-there could be Muslims and Christians?
Religious harmony, you can see here.
The best area to accommodate the other people from different parts
of the world, maybe that's why Kerala is known
as God's own country.
India embraces you.
The drums are irresistible, the music's irresistible
and we started to dance down the street.
Do you know I never thought I would ever do that at my age?
And yet there I am, you know, bopping away
and I'm thinking to myself,
"How are you doing this?" because I don't do it at home.
So maybe I'll start doing it a little bit more.
Nandi! Nandi, nandi!
Oh, there comes Mahabali, the King.
There's the King.
Oh, wow, wow, wow, wow.
What a festival.
And the big elephant in the middle was absolutely incredible,
I've never seen anything like that.
I live near Wrexham and they do have some nice parades there,
but you won't get three beautifully-dressed elephants
walking through Wrexham, I don't think.
I wouldn't have missed this for the world.
-They don't bite, do they?
HE CLICKS TONGUE
See, that could turn into a beautiful villa, couldn't it?
Lionel is the eldest member of the group,
and at 87, he's finding adapting to life in India the most difficult.
-What do you want to do?
-I'd like to have a little sit down,
because I'm an old man.
I'd like to have a cigarette, actually.
I think it's my age, really.
I think when I was younger,
it didn't worry me.
You feel very...
Animals roaming in the street, you know.
Cattle and everything.
You see, things like that put me off.
What we've seen where we're living
-and where we're staying is very nice.
When we go outside the door...
-It's not horrific for me.
That's a bit of a strong word, but...
I find it a bit sort of sad, in a way.
It's not horrific at all, it's the way...
I didn't expect to live in shanty town.
I mean, it's shaken me.
The point is, we can't expect it to be England.
If it was England, we wouldn't have to travel, would we?
So, you know, we have to see it.
See it, and be able to say, "Well, would I like to be here?"
My eldest son went travelling, and he told me he went all over India.
He loved the whole experience.
He just said, "You should never turn down
"something you've never done before."
Really. Or places you've never been.
Even to say, "I don't like it."
I don't do anything to relax.
And everybody keeps telling me, every doctor I see,
anybody who meets me has said...
"You need to relax."
In fact, the only question I've ever had that's stumped me was,
"What do you do for relaxation?
"When do you turn off?"
So I need to address calming Sheila down.
Sheila and Paul are visiting a traditional Ayurvedic massage parlour
just a four minute tuk-tuk ride from the house.
Ayurvedic massage centre.
-OK, thank you.
-If I didn't have a bad back before I got in this,
I've certainly got one now.
Thank you very much.
Don't pay any attention to him, that was a lovely ride.
-Thank you for your chariot.
Hi, how are you.
-How are you?
-I'm fine, thank you.
So, you do me...?
The ladies start doing for ladies, and gents for gents.
Oh, why can't you do me and she do you?
I would prefer that, too, but...
It is our customs.
OK, shall we start?
'I can't be boring, but I do need to be able to contain'
all the energy.
Cos I do have a lot of energy.
So I've been told.
Now, I understand that you do this completely naked.
Not completely naked.
We'll use this.
Oh, I see.
Is that all? If it lifts, I'm out of here!
Now how do I... What do I do with it?
How do I fit that?
-Tie it here.
-Oh, I see, it just hangs down?
I was going to say...
It doesn't need to be that long.
OK, here we go.
Thank you very much.
This retreat is open to anyone looking to relax their body and mind
using ancient Indian methods.
What do you think?
You... You nut!
So we probably do have a bit of tension.
-You can say that again.
-This massage will help the circulation,
will increase the circulation.
Oh, good. Have you ever been oiled up like this before?
It's been over 13 years since I've had a massage.
I just don't bother.
So, you're living in Majorca now, aren't you?
-So do you miss living in England?
Majorca gets like a ghost town January, February, March.
You're on your own. And it's just very, very isolated.
So you have to make... You have to go out.
All that Three Degrees choreography has finally took its toll.
I should have told you.
OK, you do it again I'll shoot you.
Presently, you're on your own, aren't you?
Very much so, yes.
Do you miss not having a regular chap in your life?
Well, duh, yeah.
A funny thing I've noticed since being here,
I'm so not used to people around me.
I'm so used to being alone 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
that I'm not used to other people's conversation.
But now we're virtually living together 24 hours a day.
I mean, as we get older, we get more set in our ways, don't we?
And we get kind of very used to our own space and our own habits.
Yeah. My partner, John, is gone.
He could put up with me, so it was great. Ha!
-He was great.
And what happened there?
We were happy, and he just wanted to spend the rest of his life with me,
-and vice versa.
'What I'm trying to do now is'
find what's missing in my life, which is the home life.
You can't live, what...
It's eight...coming up to eight years, now, alone,
and think that's a quality... It's not a good quality of life.
'I've got skyping with my daughters,
'and we do keep in touch every day, which is a lovely thing.'
But it's not the physicality, the physicality is what I'm lacking.
I need physical contact with people.
And also the mental and emotional stimulation.
People tend to think that when you're older, you don't have sex.
That is so untrue.
Well, I do think that when you age together,
your sexual needs remain basically the same.
Yes. So you're lucky, you've been married all your life?
Well, I've been married to the same woman for many a year.
The great thing about my wife is she, most of the time,
doesn't know where I am.
Loved everything about it, it was also nice bonding with Paul,
and getting to share a bit of privacy.
Thank you so much. 'That was very relaxing.'
Very relaxing indeed.
And it took the stress away from being with so many people.
The first week in India is drawing to a close,
and the eight senior citizens are settling into local life.
I've been more relaxed since that massage.
Everything was chilled, I was calm.
And there's a serenity that I feel.
And I can't explain it.
And that, for me, is an eye-opener.
After living in Old Kochi for a week,
the group have decided to hold a party to meet their new neighbours.
What time is the party?
I will tell them to come at seven.
Hopefully most of them should.
It'll be nice to meet some of your friends.
Yesterday, we bought a lot of decorations
to decorate the place up.
-Are you going to help?
So we're all going to decorate.
So can I leave that part to you?
And when you come back...
But before tonight's party,
the group are keen to explore further afield
than their home in Kochi.
We can see the rice paddy fields.
And you know the staple food for the Keralan is...
The entire state of Kerala
is crisscrossed by a network of waterways.
Traditionally, the banks have been home to fishermen.
But recently, these waterways have become a desirable place to live.
God, it's not easy, is it?
-Welcome to you on the backwaters of Kerala.
Thank you. And your name is, sorry?
-Like Dennis, but not quite Dennis.
Oh, this is lovely!
Am I the lucky one, or not?
-I've got three boys!
-Three men in a boat, right?
Rustie, Lionel, Paul and Dennis
are taking a houseboat through the backwaters,
where they can pass close to some of its impressive properties.
Is that somebody's private home there, the white?
-How much would a house like that cost a year, in India?
That, I can say, approximately 15 million Indian rupees.
So that's about £150,000?
100 and... Yeah.
That would be about seven or eight million in England.
I'm a bit of a landlord on the quiet.
Certainly, I'd be interested, see what you can get, what the rent is,
what you pay for a house there.
Cos everybody needs a place to live.
The backwaters run 560 miles through the heart of the state.
Known as the Venice of the East,
these waterways connect Kerala's villages, towns and cities.
Bill, Amanda, Miriam and Sheila
are using the trip to get up close to village life in Kerala.
From here, we are going to touch the life and nature.
The heart of the villages.
Oh, my lord. Wow!
-Lord have mercy.
-Wow, he must have strong thighs.
He's very strong.
HE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
I'm trying to see if they've got television aerials.
Aerials, no need for aerials. It's cable.
That's what I wanted to know.
-You've got cable television all the way through here?
How many rooms would these houses have?
Probably three, ma'am. Two to three.
One bedroom, living room, kitchen?
-And is the bathroom inside or outside?
No, most probably outside.
It was so reminiscent of my childhood in the American South
with my grandparents, and how we lived,
came back to me just like that.
They're going to race us!
The children are really happy to meet you.
Oh, look at you!
Seeing the life on the canals was fascinating.
The people live so simplistically.
Oh, sorry, I thought he was holding a snake.
-There's a man there bathing.
35 miles downriver, Lionel, Dennis, Rustie and Paul
are entering Vembanad Lake.
Look at that,
it's just like a painting.
It's absolute... Something you read in a book.
Local guide Shabib has brought them to his village.
CHILD SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
-How are you?
-This is Dennis...
-How are you?
-You live here?
-That is my house.
-Is that your house?
-That's your grandpa?
So he's worked in the Kerala government transportation company,
you know, all his life.
-And he is retired now.
-And this is his home?
-Yeah, his home is...
-How old are you?
But he does a lot of dancing.
Do you want a sweet?
If you wanted peace of mind, build a house here and come here and live.
Because you wouldn't be happier.
You couldn't be happier.
When I first arrived, I thought, "Oh, my God.
"This isn't what I expected.
"I'm living in shanty town and it's going to be awful."
And I think I made a mistake.
I don't think I'll complain about another thing.
I can always come back to the memory of this.
This wonderful peacefulness.
Look at it.
Look at it.
Preparations for tonight's party are underway.
-That looks lovely.
-That look all right?
That really looks lovely.
Well done, Lionel. I'm expecting a lovely tap routine tonight, Lionel,
are we going to get it?
I'm just telling him to send out some little nibbles.
I've got the pork...
Oh, lovely. That looks nice, watch your fingers.
OK, is everybody happy?
Yes? Let's have a lovely night.
The group's new neighbours are beginning to arrive at the house.
You were staying in a houseboat?
Yes, we were. Going up the canals.
It was lovely. It was interesting to see life,
and people living so simplistically.
They're so happy and smiling, and I'm like, "Yeah, OK."
My mind has totally relaxed
since I've been here, to the point where I'm not as hyper.
'So it has really slowed me down.'
-I'm a sort of actress.
On stage or TV...?
On all of it.
If we go back years and years.
Carry On films.
-Carry On films?
-I was Cleo in Carry On Cleo.
Oh, wow! Yes, you were, of course you were!
That's an embarrassment.
Why? Everybody knows it, here.
You mention this Cleo, they will know.
I'm going to need to take your autograph or something.
Prince Charles's favourite group was The Three Degrees.
But we've got the best Degree with us.
Would you please welcome Sheila Ferguson!
# Each day I live
# I long to be
# A day to give
# The best of me
# I'm only one
# But not alone... #
Every day, there's something different.
It's a totally different lifestyle.
It's a very, very friendly lifestyle.
And we're still seeing things that I've never, ever seen.
# When I'm racing with destiny-y-y. #
THEY CHEER AND APPLAUD
It is India.
And it's fantastic.
# One man say I'm cute and funny
# I'm 19 and I... #
I'm looking forward to finding out what more India has to offer.
# I just lap it all up, like
# Honey... #
We're just fit for anything, actually.
We are. We're gung ho.
To have even more different adventures is a really,
really tasty thing to look forward to.
It's an eye-opener.
It grows on you.
And you fall in love with the place.
You do, really.
# I got
# I got
# My friends
# Who could ask for anything more? #
It's a wonderful Indian experience so far.
I look forward to more time spent here in India
with people that are fun and friendly.
# Who could ask for anything more? #
Two, three, four...
THEY CHEER AND APPLAUD
Our eight senior citizens settle in to life in India.
Oh, sorry. Oh.
How often would you go playing golf on a tuk-tuk and a ferry?
It's all right.
And they travel further afield...
Big room. Fan.
..to explore the spiritual side of the country.
-It's just wondrous.
The temple is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
Knowing it's about love,
that makes me smile.
Entertainer Lionel Blair, wildlife presenter Bill Oddie, actress Amanda Barrie, snooker champion Dennis Taylor, TV personality Rustie Lee, TV doctor Miriam Stoppard, Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson and Just Good Friends actor Paul Nicholas arrive at their new home, a 16th-century mansion in Old Kochi.
Sheila is keen to make sure she gets what she wants out of the experience, but Lionel finds dealing with the realities of living in India unsettling - the animals in the street, the more basic way of life and the piles of rubbish that can distract from the beauty. Paul, Bill and Dennis rise to the challenge with humour and classic one-liners, and Rustie and Miriam seem charmed by their first days here. The group then head off to visit the world-famous backwaters, hundreds of miles of waterways that criss-cross through the villages and jungles, on traditional houseboats.