Remembering Desert Darlings - Channel 4 (2003)

Falklands veteran Ken Hames leads six couples across the arid Namibian desert.

Paul Connolly of The Times said:
Now for the real surprise of the evening - a very good reality television show. Desert Darlings (Channel 4) was devised by the doyen of reality television, Paul Watson, who was responsible for Sylvania Waters and The Dinner Party. The premise is simple enough; six couples, five heterosexual, one Lesbian, are subjected to a 28-day trek through the Namibian desert, led by Ken, a flat-nosed Falklands War veteran. ....
And for those who really couldn’t be bothered with the many engrossing subtexts threaded through the hour, among the 12 participants there were no shortage of oddballs to love or hate. Quickly establishing a firm lead as the major pain in the posterior was Marie, a lawyer, who was not happy unless she was exploiting her doormat husband, Darryl, and whose makeup regime makes Boy George look understated.

Read more ... or the full TV review (PDF) or The Times

The Mail on Sunday said:
As these programmes invariably attract the kind of self-regarding bores you'd fake death to get away from at a party, it bewilders me that we should welcome them into our living rooms. ....
"I like a fight," she [Marie] had promised back in England, her empurpled lips drawn back like writhing nightcrawlers in a livid, instinctive snarl."

Read more of David Bennun's review or Source

Paul McCartney of the Scotsman tells us: Darrell does whatever nervy spouse Marie tells him to do.
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The Watcher said:
Moaning Marie was the star of the show. We met the vain plain Jane applying layer upon layer of make up, telling us she likes a fight and she's no wimp. Husband Darrell is, though. He was filmed wallowing under the duvet with a bowl of cereal or beneath the bubbles in the bath.
It's no surprise that the self-confessed non-go-getter seeks comfort. He's getting none from Marie who made him carry the bulk of her possessions in the searing desert heat and left him tongue-tied as she snapped instructions as he tried to erect a tent. "I give Marie a stress free life by doing exactly what she tells me to do," said the most emasculated man we've seen on TV since Ronnie Corbett in Sorry!

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Marie van der Zyl attended Liverpool Polytechnic and is currently the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

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