Dreams come true
February 23, 2004
How do you fancy being sent on your dream holiday? We’re not talking two weeks in a Greek villa here (although that would do me a treat) but a proper, once in a lifetime, no expense spared trip you’ll remember forever?
Well you could be if someone you know nominates you for the BBC1 show Perfect Holiday. The downside is you’d better be deserving of it, because so far the people who have been sent away have been seriously nice – and all in more need than you or me of a break away.
There was the teacher from Gloucestershire blinded when he tried to stop someone stealing a car, a woman getting over cancer and the couple on Wednesday who were struggling to come to terms with their daughter Jade’s illness which meant she has the mental and physical ability of a six-month-old baby.
So, Steph and Barry are to be sent away, but where?
Travel trio Simon the Independent’s travel editor, Jenny a travel writer and Russell, a camp, annoying man who must have something to do with travel, descend on their house to find out where to send them. They could just ask them or their friends but I guess that would be too easy.
Russell is most annoying. “Ooh, they’ve got a picture of Egypt. How revealing.” Is it Russell? Why’s that? Perhaps they bought it at Habitat.
Next he’s poking about the kitchen. “Hmmm. Banana skins and glasses of wine. So they’re healthy but they like to drink.” So says you Hetty Wainthrop. Perhaps that banana was the only thing left in the house to eat after a week-long booze drugs and sex romp?
Unlikely but you never know.
Eventually they decide to send them to Thailand to a series of almost too fantastic hotels involving their own pools, spas, whirlpool baths etc – but Russell, with his holiday wardrobe of brightly-coloured tight T-shirts and flowy scarfs has to go with them.
And although it’s lovely of them (or us, it is the BBC) to give them all this, they don’t half have to be grateful.
When they get to Phukhet, the ever-present Russell (he’s like a big fat Buddha himself) is showing them their room like a PR pro.
It gets to ridiculous lengths when he’s pointing out the size of the shower head. “You’re gonna die when you see this,” he burbles. Is he talking about the shower or his next outfit?
Difficult to tell.
And he won’t leave them alone when it comes to talking about the more “challenging” (as he puts it) aspects of their life. “It’s quite tough though isn’t it?” he probes in his drippy, Essex accent. When they put forward positive answers he looks a bit disappointed. “Yeah. Right.”
I think he was hoping for tears.
What does come out of this programme, if you can ignore annoying Russell and his Liberace tendencies, is the real emotion these people show and what a difference doing something nice for someone can make. When they arrive in Bangkok, Barry buys armfuls of flowers for Steph and fills their hotel room with them.
“He never normally buys me flowers,” she says. Barry looks like he’s won the Lottery.
And it is over-sentimental and our heart strings are tugged throughout the whole half-hour but so what?
They have a tough time at home and surely none of us could begrudge them a break from that?
So get the tissues out, snuggle up and have a good old bawl at the happy endings.
It’s like therapy for us too.