What's on TV: Saturday, August 25

Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey

SBS, 8.05pm

Historical authority has shifted its moorings in the television age. Once the domain of Oxford dons, democratisation means a small but exalted tribe of British thespians have parlayed their star status into a globe-trotting second career.

Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey M Mag TV previews for 26th August 2018. Image supplied.

Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey M Mag TV previews for 26th August 2018. Image supplied.

It certainly helps Joanna Lumley that she is in possession of living treasure status along with her recognisable and beguilingly breathy voice. Her Greek odyssey has a touch of age on it: it was filmed in 2011, after her series down the Nile and before her visits to Japan, Siberia and India.

Lumley appears quite at home on the yacht of a Greek shipping magnate and her actorly delivery loads the most mundane observations with an undeserved weight as she recounts the Nazi invasion of Crete, visits a former leper colony, and dances on the island of Kos.

The highlight comes from a Cretan cobbler who survived the destruction of his village by way of Nazi reprisal. So he was making shoes during the war? Lumley asks in surprise via a translator. "Of course we were," replies a clearly unimpressed subject. LD

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