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Cape Town stand-up comic Mark Lottering, as well known for his impressively big hair as he is for his ability to elicit a laugh, has found himself on the receiving end of a definitely less-than-polite comparison of BBC TV shows with their foreign versions.
And in Lottering’s case, it is of course the local version of SABC 3’s Strictly Come Dancing, which he presents with Pabi Moloi.
The comparisons featured this week in British newspaper The Daily Mail, in a picture-driven piece titled: Look what’s happened to Hyacinth: How the BBC’s favourite characters’ appearances change when their shows go global.”
Pictures compare Keeping Up Appearances character Hyacinth Bucket and Pontso Seboko from SABC 2’s Sotho-language version, titled Mponeng or “look at me”. And the article complains that “when beloved British television shows are adapted on international screens, it seems the latter fails to appreciate the importance of keeping up appearances”.
It continues: “No wonder Hyacinth ‘Bouquet’ Bucket feels the need to constantly identify herself as the lady of the house when pitted against her foreign counterpart.”
For Lottering and Moloi, they’re being compared to British Strictly Come Dancing hosts – and beloved national treasures Bruce Forsythe and Tess Daly. And there’s a definite note of sarcasm as they assure their readers that Lottering’s hair is indeed “real”.
But none of it fazes Lottering, who at the time of the Jive CT Funny Fest in May was quoted by Cape Town Tourism on their social media site as follows: “Mark Lottering says his hair looks like it does because he is in constant shock about the beauty of Cape Town”.
Last night he told Weekend Argus he hadn’t seen the Daily Mail article, but he didn’t think he’d be particularly worried by it.
“Everything I do, be it on stage or be it on TV, I aim to do it well and I aim to make the audience happy,” he said, adding that the feedback from the show had been great.
“One shouldn’t take it too seriously and I certainly don’t. I’m just happy to be in the news.”
He also said that he doubted that anyone in the UK had actually watched a single episode of the South African show anyway.
A Daily Mail picture caption starts off calling Lottering and Moloi “Strictly Addams Family”, then goes on to point out that Lottering’s hair is, in fact, real – as if that were ever a question.
It wasn’t only South Africa – France, the US, India and Korea also came under fire. But many readers weren’t impressed.
Louise, from London, wrote: “Wow, how xenophobic can you get?”
Another, Mecmac from Dunedin, added: “What an ill-written snide and unpleasant article.” - Weekend Argus