The adventure comes not a moment too soon this week, with the call to action from Lady Alex (Ophelia Lovibond) helping Hooten (Michael Landes) extricate himself from a sticky situation with a gang of Bolivian mobsters.
Summoned to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan by Penny McQuinn (Joanna Scanlan), the pair are soon on the trail of an ancient scroll purportedly written by the Buddah himself. To ratchet up the tension they are against the clock, as thanks to a charming local custom, Hooten is poisoned as motivation to return with the prize.
Accompanied on their perilous trek thought the snow-capped mountains by a taciturn giant named Hildigao, ensuring that Hooten keeps to his word and returns to settle his debts, the wise-cracking adventurer’s worsening condition makes the journey even more dangerous.
As the poisoning slowly robs him of his faculties, it also becomes the prompt for some great gags, with double vision repeatedly threatening to send him off the cliff edge and making an already hazardous rope-bridge crossing a heart-in-your-mouth moment.
This week’s episode also offered us a further glimpse into Alex’s home life as we briefly met her seemingly long-suffering boyfriend Ed, played by Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch, W1A), at the start and end of the tale. We are yet to find out anything substantive about him though, so fingers crossed he does not turn out to be a wrong’un.
For her part, Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It, No Offence) is hilarious as Penny – the beautifully mannered and quite PC Brit abroad, who has gone semi-native living amongst the villagers in the “eighth happiest country in the world”, but still retains her sense of identity. She is another guest star we would love to see return at some point.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we were still touching base with Ella (Jessica Hynes) and Clive (Shaun Parkes) back home as they tried to work on a potential cure for Hooten, and we are thrilled to see our wish granted, as it appears that Ella will be out and about next week. We also loved the little titbit of background on Ella, with the surprising reveal of her college nickname of “Ganja Girl”!
Hooten and the Lady continues to bring the funny and the frenetic, with well-staged action and charming characters, and once again, director Justin Molotnikov makes excellent use of the epic scenery.
In truth, it is a wonder that the show has not been paired with an adventure travel company, as Bhutan has just rocketed up our bucket list of holiday destinations.