The Dream: Goan Bonkers (BBC2).
knows how long it is since TV first got the idea of following
(usually gormless) Brits who take it into their heads to
live and work abroad - usually with little or no research
into what to expect or knowledge of foreign ways.
admit that some of these programmes, particularly the Living
The Dream series, have been entertaining, albeit in a cruel
and heartless way.
they go, these latter- day colonials, with little money
and exaggerated expectations, to somewhere they visited
once on holiday, hoping to find a way of earning a living
while enjoying the high life.
a sign that the formula is beginning to run out of steam
came with last night's Goan Bonkers - the title a pun that
director David Goodale couldn't resist, but one that was
not really justified by the frankly unexciting content.
fact, the odyssey by Mancunians Ken and Jackie Johnson,
to own and run an English-style pub in Goa, proved hardly
more exciting than any British businessman deciding to go
to India to open a small factory for the manufacture of
Johnsons had originally spotted the Peacock pub while on
a package holiday in Goa; five months later, they took their
life savings of Pounds 14,000, bought the pub's lease for
an undisclosed sum, and went to live and work in the former
Portuguese colony - leaving their three grownup daughters
and five grandchildren behind.
charmingly, it seems that Jackie's chief motive, after 30
years of marriage, was to spend the rest of her life somewhere
in the sun where she could have her husband all to herself.
a lorry driver, consoled himself with the thought that Goa
was not so far from Manchester, really - just the few hours
it would take him to drive to, say, Cornwall, plus eight
hours or so on an aeroplane; Mr Johnson is clearly a stoic.
The couple arrived a month before the tourist influx in
October, and found the Peacock had sadly deteriorated during
the monsoon season.
made contact with Veejay, the lady cleaner - but the bar
staff, all of whom had been promised jobs, failed to appear.
'I'll sack them,' said Ken, who had never employed anyone
in his life.
Peacock, attached to a tourist hotel, lay in a cul-de-sac
near the beach, but once visitors started to arrive, Jackie
was displeased to discover that they preferred to buy their
drinks from a cheap local off-licence, then lounge by the
pool, drinking in full view of the often empty Peacock's
a rep from the holiday company, Jackie laid down the law:
she wanted a sign posted at the hotel forbidding tourists
to consume food or drink that had been bought off the premises.
only did she win her point, she also secured a deal for
the Peacock to be in charge of keeping the mini-bar in each
room topped up, thus leaving no refrigerated space for contraband
was obvious that Jackie's getup-and-go spirit might just
turn the pub into a going concern, if not a howling success
- certainly, none of the other expat British pub owners
who crowded into the Peacock for the opening night seemed
to be making a fortune.
it was she who shortcircuited the leaden-footed local bureaucracy
by flying to London to obtain work visas from the Indian
High Commission: without them, she and Ken couldn't even
open a business bank account.
is typical of the people we see in Living The Dream that
Ken and Jackie hadn't even realised they would need work
permits before setting out for India.
producers might argue that their programme at least shows
others the pitfalls they can fall into.
if that were true, how is it that there's never any shortage
of hopefuls setting off for foreign climes without the foggiest
idea of how things work?