Belfast Telegraph

Lionel Blair and Bill Oddie checking in to The Real Marigold Hotel

The Real Marigold Hotel is returning for a second series, and moving to BBC One after being a surprise hit for BBC Two earlier this year (16).

Lionel Blair, Bill Oddie and Amanda Barrie are among the stars jetting to India for a second series of The Real Marigold Hotel.

The programme, based on the 2012 film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, was a surprise hit for the BBC when it aired earlier this year (16), with Miriam Margolyes and Wayne Sleep two of eight celebrity pensioners sent to explore whether or not they could enjoy a better retirement life in Jaipur.

The BBC Two show attracted more than four million viewers, and became the channel's most popular factual show of 2016 to date.

Now the programme is being recommissioned for a second, four-part series, and being moved to BBC One, with entertainer Lionel, presenter Bill and actress Amanda being joined by actor Paul Nicholas, singer Sheila Ferguson, Dr Miriam Stoppard, snooker player Dennis Taylor and television cook Rustie Lee as they travel to Kochi, South West India.

Charlotte Moore, content boss for the BBC, said in a statement: "The first series was a big hit that connected with viewers in a really heart-warming way. It was entertaining whilst enlightening, celebrating a universal subject

“I’m looking forward to watching our new cast of characters reach an ever broader audience on BBC One."

And BBC Two editor Patrick Holland insisted the show moving to BBC One will give them more of an opportunity to commission new programmes.

"Who would have thought that a show about retirement would become such a hit with audiences young and old?" he said. "Moving to BBC One means we have space to commission new series like Second Chance Summer, and Life and Death in a Week."

Four cast members from this year's series will be returning to BBC Two, however, for a two-part Christmas special, in which they will travel to Japan and Florida to see how the retirement communities there differ from those in the U.K.

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