A Year in Provence TV series with actress and writer Carol Drinkwater
The changing of the seasons has brought with it cold and clear morning commutes to work, lit with sunrises that hold so much promise for warm, sunny days - perfect for drying the washing. Knowing what to wear to keep warm first thing, but not overheat later is proving tricky, and digging out my winter wardrobe has just added to my already huge to-do list. As we approach another well-needed weekend, I just had to share the news that Sunday night TV (for those of us able to pick up UK TV) has just got a bit more exciting.
Last Sunday the first of six programmes aired on Channel 5, set in the south of France with actress and writer Carol Drinkwater. I have been following Carol’s French life for longer than I have been living my own; her Olive Farm memoirs about life at Appassionata in the hills above Cannes, were a comforting companion for my early days in France seventeen years ago. It is always a privilege when a writer lets you into their personal life, sharing the highs and the lows, but writing about your homelife isn’t quite the same as opening the doors to your private life and inviting the cameras in.
For an actress who has concentrated on her memoir and fiction writing in recent years, I imagine it was a big step for Carol to get in front of the camera again and for it to be such a personal documentary. Part home life on the farm she and husband Michel have owned for over thirty years, part out and about with her in Provence and the south of France; all I can say is that I enjoyed it more than I was expecting. Having loved reading her memoirs, there was a tiny part of me that worried a TV programme could take away some of the magic I’d found in her books. Would the reality of the villa and land match up to what I’d imagined it to be when I read the books all those years ago? I needn’t have worried. It was a great reminder of how much I’d enjoyed the books, and it made me want to read them all again. The highlights for me were Carol's natural confidence in front of the camera, the loving looks between her and husband Michel and her bravery as she clambered around moving boats, while talking to the camera, and then went snorkelling to see an underwater art installation. It was an honour to be invited in, to virtually share Michel’s passion for cooking, and I can’t wait to see what other gems we will see in the five remaining episodes. For me at least, as the nights draw in, I know this series will make Sunday evenings that little bit warmer.
If you don’t have access to UK TV, the first episode is already available on the UKTvShows YouTube channel, see here, so hopefully they will have the rest of the series as it airs.
As you wait for Sunday night to arrive, you might like to read my interviews with Carol, or the guest post she wrote for the blog: