“I entered a world unchanged since the frankincense trade,” said Kate Humble, the engaging presenter, of the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia – to wit, the iconic tower in Riyadh owned by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal who made million dollar deals, while chatting to her on his mobile… (The ‘royal’appellation for addressing eminent sheikhs, has long annoyed me. Can someone put me right with the Arabic equivalent?)
I would dispute the veracity of a script claiming that incense caravans took only two weeks to cross the ‘Empty Quarter’ a 225,000 square mile sand sea occupying central Arabia.
Miss Humble cried in the first programme, when she put on a niqab in Sana’a. In last evening’s programme, her tears were flowing on hearing the prayer-call in Jeddah. Does she cry at the sound of church bells, I wonder?
And at one point she told us “you must advance certain causes that you believe in.” But we were never told what were hers.
Behind the glamour of Frankincense Tails 2, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains, the most misogynist regime in the Middle East.
Miss Humble had the opportunity to rant about inequality, but the remark by her humorless guide,”I don`t believe in women playing sport.” (of women playing netball) said it all.
But it was an attractive film and no doubt divers will eat their heart out for the pristine wreck of a ship carrying frankincense, embedded on a Red Sea reef.