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The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Updated: 2017-11-16T17:42:29.215+02:00


Mma Ramotswe movie buttresses South African dominance


source: Mmegi

The perception that Botswana is a province of South Africa is not likely to be debunked any time soon after the release of the well acclaimed No.1 Ladies Detective Agency movie series - better known as Mma Ramotswe.

For some film reviewers and locals, the fact that the actors are mostly South African is a cause of concern. "Despite being produced entirely in Botswana, however, it is surprising that certain words have been pronounced differently from local usage.

For instance, in Setswana the common address of a man as 'Rra' is pronounced 'Rae' rather than the usual form which uses a short 'a'. Also, the Setswana name Mmapula is pronounced in the series with emphasis on the short 'a', rather than on the long 'u' which most Batswana would use," the United Kingdom's Guardian film critic, Sam Wollaston wrote. The cast of [continue reading]

MmaRamotswe finally airs


source: BOPA

08 January, 2010
GABORONE - Finally, the long awaited No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is now showing on Botswana Television (Btv) for an hour from 9:30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.

According to Btv General Manager Molefhe Sejoe, the station would only broadcast seven episodes and the first one was broadcast on December 30.

Sejoe noted that it took them a while to obtain the movie despite the fact that it was filmed locally. The movie shows at night because Btv has moved its drama slot to after the 9pm news.

He said after its release those who had the financial muscle got the chance to broadcast it first while Btv had to wait and follow normal procurement processes.

However, he explained that this time around Btv was showing the movie as per the goodwill of the company that produced it.

Meanwhile, some Batswana are not happy with the long wait and the time slot.

Thato Mosipidi noted that government had not been fair to give preference to outsiders as they benefitted from the movie at the expense of [continue reading]

`The No. 1 Ladies` Detective Agency` Puts Spotlight on Botswana


source: Voice of America
By Bart Childs
Gaborone, Botswana
13 October 2009

In Gaborone, Botswana, the joint production of the HBO/BBC series "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" caused a sensation, both locally and internationally. It's the story of a young woman chasing her dreams to be a detective, the first in Botswana. But it also was a catalyst to a young film industry just getting started.

It's a story about a dream, about starting from scratch.

But it's about not Mma Ramotswe in the wildly popular books, film and TV series called the "No. 1 First Ladies' Detective Agency." It's about the film industry in Botswana itself explained Alexander McCall Smith, the author of [continue reading]

Mmaramotswe Airs On M-Net Today


source: Mmegi
Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe

DStv viewers across Africa including in Botswana have the opportunity to watch one of the most acclaimed television series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency on M-Net to night.


The pan African channel has beaten Botswana Television (Btv) to the television series, after the local channel failed to create an enabling environment for the series to be broadcast locally. The producers of the movie had requested Btv to limit its spectrum to Botswana only to ensure the series is not watched by external viewers. Btv was given that task soon after the first series was aired on BBC United Kingdom (UK), early last year.

The producers of the movie have since arranged with a [continue reading]

McCall Smith heroine writes cookbook



The heroine of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels is to challenge celebrity food writers like Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson by launching her own cookbook, reports the Telegraph. Mma Ramotswe's Cookbook will be published by Polygon in November.

The cookbook, supposedly written by Precious Ramotswe, is the brainchild of Stuart Brown, a charity worker and [continue reading]

It's a Boy for Jill Scott!


By Tiffany McGee and Jessica Herndon
Originally posted Tuesday April 21, 2009 08:00 PM EDT

R&B singer and actress Jill Scott and her fiancé, drummer Lil John Roberts, have welcomed their first child, a boy, her manager confirms to PEOPLE.

Jett Hamilton Roberts was born at 4:20 p.m. on April 20. He weighed in at 7 lbs., 8 oz.

Scott, who stars on HBO's new series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, based on the popular novels by Alexander McCall Smith, discovered she was pregnant shortly before leaving for Botswana to film the show.

"At one point I was trying to gain weight for the role, and I noticed I had put on 7 lbs. in 7 days. And I thought, my god! What's going on here," she tells PEOPLE. "I thought something was wrong with me, and I found out I was [continue reading]

Agency` In best drama series at the Emmys


source: Botswana Gazette
Written by Botswana Gazette online
Friday, 27 March 2009 00:00

(image) There's been some confusion among Emmy-watchers over whether HBO's "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," which debuts on March 29,
will compete at the Emmys as a miniseries or a drama series. HBO's Emmy gurus tell Gold Derby that it will qualify in the drama series lineup since the program has more than the requisite six episodes airing during the Emmy eligibility period - the network will air seven. "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" stars American R&B singer-actress Jill Scott as "fat and fabulous" Precious Ramotswe, who's devoted to solving crimes in Botswana, and Anika Noni Rose (Tony Award winner for "Caroline - Or Change" and star of the film version of "Dreamgirls") as her hyper, officious assistant.

The show had a successful launch on the BBC in the U.K. over the last week, drawing more than 5 million TV viewers. One reviewer for the London Times offered praise, as he put it, giving it three out of five stars.

Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gives it a [continue reading]

Mma Ramotswe markets Botswana in the US


source: Bostwana Press Agency
23 March, 2009

GABORONE - Batswana are proud and grateful for the tremendous extent to which Alexander McCall's Smith No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novel series has marketed and branded the country abroad.

Speaking at the launch of the movie in New York last week, Botswana's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr Charles Ntwaagae said almost every where one goes nowadays, "the moment people discover that you are from Botswana, they start saying how much they have enjoyed reading the series," he said.

Ambassador Ntwaagae said the novel series has made all citizens ambassadors for the country.

He thanked the organisers of the launch on behalf of the government and the Botswana Tourism Board, who were the hosts and sponsors of the event.

Mr Ntwaagae thanked Ms Leslee Hall, a director at Partner Concepts, particularly for taking the lead in organising the event on behalf of the Botswana Tourism Board.

He also thanked Botswana's Ambassador to the USA, Mr Caesar Lekoa and his staff together with his own staff at the Permanent Mission of Botswana to the United Nations in New York.

"I also wish to sincerely commend the lead actor in the movie, Jill Scott for her outstanding performance in [continue reading]

No.1 Ladies` Detective Agency kicks off with 5.2m viewers


source: Brand Republic
by Nikki Sandison and Daniel Farey-Jones, Brand Republic 16-Mar-09, 11:25

LONDON - BBC One adaptation 'The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency' returned for a six-part series following its successful pilot last Easter, with 5.2m viewers tuning in last night, but the series debut was handily beaten by ITV1's 'Dancing On Ice' skate-off, according to unofficial overnight figures.

Botswana's first lady detective Mma Precious Ramotswe, who uses her understanding of human nature rather than any forensic knowledge to solve mysteries, pulled in a 20.3% share of the 9pm-10pm audience for BBC One.

Based on Alexander McCall Smith's novels, the series stars Jill Scott as Mma Ramotswe and Desmond Dube as her irrepressible hairdressing neighbour BK.

Earlier in the evening, the series finale of 'Lark Rise to Candleford', which saw postman Thomas Brown finally marry his timid bride Miss Ellison, netted 5.8m viewers and a 21.5% share of the 8pm-9pm audience for BBC One.

ITV1's 'Dancing On Ice' ruled Sunday's night's ratings once again, attracting 9.2m viewers and a 36.6% share of the 7.15pm to 8pm audience for its first show of [continue reading]

Back to Botswana on BBC1 this Sunday


source: Property Wire
Written by Limpopo Lipadi
Monday, 09 March 2009

Following the huge success of the first feature length drama broadcast on the BBC last March, the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency filmed entirely in Botswana will return to our screens this month as a six part series starting on Sunday 15th March 2009 at 9pm on BBC1.

Based on the best selling novels by Alexander McCall-Smith, the series chronicles the adventures of Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana. And with an all star cast including Grammy Award winning singer Jill Scott and Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose the second series promises to continue the vision of the late Academy Award winning director, Anthony Minghella.

But it's not just the actors who are the stars of this show, with the series being entirely filmed on location in Botswana the stunning country in southern Africa and the Batswana people also play a starring role as producer Timothy Bricknell commented,

"Everyone involved is very pleased to be back in Botswana and capturing the essence of such a remarkable and extraordinary country."

This is a sentiment shared too by Alan Marneweck, founder and shareholder of the Limpopo-Lipadi Game & Wilderness reserve located in the malaria free Tuli block of eastern Botswana, who goes on to [continue reading]

Anika Noni Rose in Botswana


source: Mmegi

Bloomfield's Anika Noni Rose went a long distance for her latest role, playing a co-starring role with Jill Scott in the HBO series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, based on the books by Alexander McCall Smith. "I had read several of the books before I was cast, and I read the script," Rose said in a session at press tour. "For me, when something resonates with me, I can hear the voice as I'm reading the script. So for me, she came to life immediately from these pages."

Rose, who won a Tony for her role in Caroline, or Change and is best-known as a member of the trio in Dreamgirls, was not familiar with the accent in Botswana, where the series was set and shot. So she improvised.

"I auditioned with a South African accent, because it was one that I knew and I wanted them to be able to hear that this was something that could fit on my tongue," Rose said.

She got the role as Mma Makutsi, the strange secretary to Scott's character Precious Ramotswe in the series co-produced by[continue reading]

R&B Singer and Actress Jill Scott Is Pregnant


By Lisa Ingrassia
Originally posted Friday January 09, 2009 07:25 PM EST

Jill Scott is pregnant with her first child, the R&B singer and actress revealed to reporters at the Television Critics Association conference in Los Angeles on Friday.

Promoting her new HBO series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, based on the popular novels by Alexander McCall Smith, Scott said she discovered that she was pregnant just before leaving for Botswana where she filmed the show.

"The first trimester I spent in Botswana," said the star, who is due April 25. "That was one of the biggest challenges of my life. First trimester! You're sick every morning. It was seven hours time difference, the heat, the bugs, the 14 hour days."

Still, the actress, who is engaged to drummer Lil' John Roberts, says she's glad she went [continue reading]

NO 1 Ladies' Detective Agency movie coming soon


(image) source: Mmegi

Staff Writer

The Producer of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Timothy Bricknell has revealed that he is making arrangements to screen the movie on Botswana Television (Btv).

Speaking to Mmegi yesterday, Bricknell said that they are trying to screen the movie at the same time that M-Net, which has the rights, will be screening it. Currently the movie is being shown free of charge to interested individuals at the No 1 Ladies Opera House in Gaborone until next week.

Bricknell disclosed that the movie has been well received in the United Kingdom (UK) where it was shown on BBC and watched by 6.7 million people. He said HBO Channel has also come on board to screen the movie, which was shot last year, followed by the six-part series being currently shot in Botswana.

"We want the six-part series to be shown in the UK by end of March at [continue reading]

BBC McCall Smith bonanza


source: The Bookseller
04.12.08 Katie Allen

Alexander McCall Smith's The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is returning to the BBC with TV and radio projects lined up for Christmas and the new year. The BBC1 series of six 60-minute episodes will be based on McCall Smith's novels (Abacus), and is being filmed on location in Botswana. It was written by Nicholas Wright and Robert Jones and directed by Charles Sturridge and Tim Fywell. It continues from the feature-length, one-off film production of the first novel, The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which was directed by the late Anthony Minghella and broadcast in March, attracting 6.9 million viewers. Singer Jill Scott is returning to star in the new series, with "Survivors" star Paterson Joseph to join.

Producer Timothy Bricknell said: "We were thrilled with the reception to the film from critics and BBC viewers. Anthony was so proud of the project and would have been delighted to see it do so well." He added: "We are [continue reading]

Minghella, Pollack to receive posthumous credits


source: Reuters

By Mimi Turner

LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack will receive posthumous executive producer credits as the BBC moves forward with its six-part TV series based on Alexander McCall-Smith's "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency."

The series, officially announced Monday, continues the vision of Minghella, whose feature-length adaptation of the first book premiered to huge success in the U.K. shortly after his death in March. Pollack, whose Mirage Enterprises -- a co-venture with Minghella -- co-produced the telefilm, died two months later.

Filming has begun on location in Botswana on six 60-minute episodes, which will chronicle the poignant and amusing adventures of Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana.

Grammy winner Jill Scott will reprise her role as Botswana's first female sleuth and be joined by [continue reading]

Man behind lady detective


source: The Telegraph (India)

He is the man behind The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, located in modern-day Gaborone, Botswana and founded by Mma Precious Ramotswe. And he is coming to Calcutta.

The theme this book fair is Scotland. That’s the reason Alexander McCall Smith, the writer of the detective series featuring the rotund, wise, independent-minded, stew-making loveable Ms Ramotswe, will deliver the inaugural lecture.

McCall Smith, apart from being Scot, is a former professor of medical law and worked in universities in the UK and abroad. After the publication of his highly successful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over 15 million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction. The various series he has written have been translated into over 45 languages and have become bestsellers through the world.

The various series are about different places. “In Botswana, we have [continue reading]

Mma Ramotswe series on track


source: Botswana Press Agency
16 October, 2008

GABORONE - The shooting of the the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series has provided employment and experience for locals.

The movie, also known as Mma Ramotswe, generated a lot of publicity and excitement when it was shown locally early this year.

The shooting started six weeks ago and the episodes are expected to be ready next year. The series has 99 actors and 52 of them are locals.

The executive producer of the movie, Ms Amy Moore, said the filming of the movie has had a positive impact on Botswana and its people.

She said they employed 2 300 adding that they favoured women as an empowerment measure.

She also noted that they have given exposure to a number of local artists, hence promoting the Setswana culture.

She further noted that the filming of the series gave the country experience in [continue reading]

Traditional rest camp opens


source: Botswana Press Agency
24 September, 2008

GABORONE - Officials of the Botswana Tourism Board, participants in the tourism industry and media practitioners had an experience of a life time at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve recently when they were taken on a game drive to coincide with the official opening of Alexander McCall Smith Traditional Rest Camp.

The traditional rest camp which is located in the south western part of the reserve comprises five thatched huts and a lolwapa amid esthetically placed lead wood and natural morula trees.

The building styles come directly from the neighbouring community and only natural attributes were used in the structures.

Officially opening the Rest Camp, the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Tourism Board, Ms Myra Sekgororoane, described the development as an additional facility which adds value to the tourism industry.

She said Alexander McCall Smith is not a stranger to Botswana and his footprints from his renowned book series and financing the rest camp, are felt all over Botswana.

Book number seven of the Alexander Mc Call Smith's series titled Blue Shoes and Happiness has prominently featured Mokolodi Nature Reserve and the park manager who appeared as a real life character.

Sekgororoane added that the mention of the place in the book on its own provided some unprecedented publicity which if well used would push [continue reading]

No. 1 Ladies' Detective movie continues?


source: Mmegi

The first movie ever to be filmed in Botswana is being continued on a location near Gaborone.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency movie, starring American songbird, Jill Scott, as the main actor and the lady detective, is being continued in Gabane, four kilometres from Gaborone. Jill Scott stars as Mma Ramotswe, a lady detective.

The first part of the movie was filmed in 2007 on a location built especially for the movie at Kgale View in Gaborone. However, this time around, the movie producers have taken over an old abandoned and dilapidated school in Gabane.

The script for the first part of the movie was from a book by author Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The director of the [continue reading]

Mma Ramotswe`s opera and couscous


source: Mail & Guardian
SELLO MOTSETA - Jul 09 2008 06:00

About 5km outside the central business district of Gaborone, set in the subdued tranquility of the relatively untouched countryside overlooking the Kgale Mountains, sits the new Number One Ladies Opera House.

The official opening was attended by Alexander McCall Smith, the author famous for his detective books, who is also a co-owner of the new opera house. The opening event was held on a wobbly makeshift stage in a small hall able to accommodate 60 appreciative classical music lovers.

"Precious Ramotswe had never been to an opera. In fact, her only contact with music other than Botswana's rich traditional music was through her first husband, Note Makote, a jazz trumpeter," said David Slater, the director of the opera house.

He noted: "Of course she heard Jimmy Molefhe's Sunday evening programme of [continue reading]

The Botswana opening of the No 1 Ladies` Opera House


source: Times Online

The baritone paused as a train rattled by on the first night of Botswana’s new opera house

It was by far Botswana’s biggest musical event of the year – in fact, ever. Attending the official opening of the No 1 Ladies’ Opera House was Precious Ramotswe, Africa’s most famous detective – in the shape of Sheila Tlou, a former Minister of Health, who claims to be the person on whom the character in the book is based – and her creator, the Rhodesian-born Alexander McCall Smith.

The tiny “opera house”, a converted garage which served as the inspiration for J. L. B. Maketoni’s Speedy Motors in the detective stories, seats a mere 60 people. It may be no Covent Garden or La Scala, but in the capital, Gaborone, which has no other classical music venue, its arrival has been welcomed with enthusiasm.

The best of the country’s small, but growing band of classical music singers was on display. Gape Motswaledi, at 33 Botswana’s only professional (semi-professional actually) baritone, had been practising for months. He had to wait for a train to rumble past before launching into his first solo, Di Provenza il mar, from La traviata. For a maths teacher who taught himself to [continue reading]

An enemy in the heart of the No 1 Ladies` Detective Agency


source: Mmegi

Alexander McCall Smith (2008)

The ninth volume in the series, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith was released by the Penguin Group in South Africa in April this year. It is already in to its sixth reprinting, sales probably stimulated by the release of the TV film of Precious Ramotswe and her friends (Mmegi, 25 April 2008).

The Miracle at Speedy Motors takes the various adventures of the main characters forward, including: Grace Makutsi, assistant detective who would like to advance to associate detective, and her betrothed Mr Phuti Radiphuti of the Double Comfort Furniture Store - they are not yet married; Mr Polopetsi the obsequious part-time detective who also works at the Speedy Motors garage; the matron at the [continue reading]

No. 1 Ladies` Opera House to bring arias to Botswana`s bushland


source: The Independent
By Lynne Walker
Sunday, 1 June 2008

It may only be a matter of time before Precious Ramotswe is operatically trilling her way through her private investigations. Alexander McCall Smith, the author of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, has founded Botswana's first opera house, The No. 1 Ladies' Opera House. But the writer, who is himself no mean bassoonist, is keeping his plans for a future world premiere at the new venue firmly under wraps. He's brimming with enthusiasm, however, over immediate plans for his latest project which opens with "a grand-ish concert" on 21 June, sponsored by the Edinburgh-based author.

The building has been transformed from a 1940s recruitment station for miners to an extraordinary performing arts centre cum café in the African bush, about 10 minutes from the capital, Gaborone. McCall Smith first spotted its potential during the making of a BBC documentary about his novels, struck by its resemblance to his fictional Speedy Motors garage, and discovered it was available for lease. In collaboration with the former director of [continue reading]

No 1 Ladies` Opera House is open


source: Mmegi

A new restaurant, music centre and opera house is now open to the public. It is located at Kgale Siding beyond St Joseph's Senior Secondary School and open from 7 am to 4 pm (except Sundays) for breakfast, bush tea, lunch and afternoon coffee and cakes.

Meals offered include, in the morning, Alexander McCall Smith's favourite breakfast, Mr J L B Matekoni's breakfast, Mma Makutsi's pancakes with a Mma Ramotswe's pot of bush tea. In the afternoon dishes like a Speedy Motors trusted lunch or an Angelika Orford special are on offer. They are well cooked by John and Alphonce, served by Smokey the waiter and with Vivian for backup.

The No 1 Ladies' Opera House is the brainchild of David Slater, formally of Maitisong and Alexander McCall Smith, formerly of the University of Botswana, but now a professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was teaching medical ethics until the success of his over 55 books changed his life. He is best known for his series of novels, "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency", that have sold [continue reading]

Mma-ramotswe in NZ


source: Mmegi (Botswana)

Mma-ramotswe in NZ Alexander McCall Smith's novels about The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency have captured imaginations around the world and prompted a BBC TV series. BOB MADDAMS follows in Precious Ramotswe's footsteps around Gaborone before investigating the real Botswana.

It wasn't your typical stake-out. We had parked right outside the suspect's house, which stood in a wide tree-lined street in a quiet residential part of Gaborone, Botswana's capital. "OK," whispered Tim, "this is the place."

But Tim Race is no private eye. He's the boss of Africa Insight, which runs the official No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Tour. "You don't need to be an expert on the whole series of books," he reassured me. "So long as you've at least read the first one you'll get a lot out of it."

However, those who sign up for the tour often have more than a passing acquaintance with the adventures of [continue reading]