The BBC's latest travel docuseries, "Last Woman on Earth" with Sara Pascoe, dedicates its first episode entirely to Cuba's indefatigable beauty and unique charms. Although the series will take the writer and comedian all over the world, this 60-minute prime time slot will throw open Cuba's curtains to a British audience who may not previously have known much about it.
Cuba given a fascinating slot on British prime time television
The BBC has commissioned a light-hearted docuseries, "Last Woman on Earth", which is aired on BBC2 every Sunday at 9 pm. Comedian and writer Sara Pascoe travels the globe highlighting some unique jobs that are in danger of disappearing as globalisation and automation become ever more prevalent.
The first episode begins with Sara landing in Havana and learning about some bizarre Cuban trades like "Reader" at a cigar factory or "Mattress Magician" – someone who repairs broken mattresses.
Viewers who may not be familiar with Cuba's history will learn about the culture of recycling anything possible to avoid waste, as well as about the 1959 revolution, the American trade blockade, and how everyday contemporary life in Cuba can still seem vaguely archaic to Westerners.
A selection of stories from Cubans
With the BBC's commitment to educate, inform and entertain, Last Woman on Earth marries together the reflectively poignant with the downright humorous. Sara Pascoe, as comfortable amongst "habaneros" as she is in a studio at Broadcasting House in Portland Place, prises anecdotes and stories from the ever-affable locals which will make viewers gasp and guffaw in equal measure.
As Cuba has had its curtains drawn to the world for so long, many Westerners aren't aware of the decades of Communism, the "Special Period" after the fall of the Soviet Union, or the fact that Internet access is expensive, and Wi-Fi is still only located in designated hot spots outdoors.
These stories are best told by the Cubans themselves, and via Jorge, Sara's translator, the programme shows the stoic spirit of the Cuban people who seem to get through hard times using humour and ingenuity.
Opening up the whole of Cuba
For most people, and even for a significant number of people who have visited Cuba, the island stops at the outskirts of Havana. However, this mentality borders on the tragic.
Cuba is one of the world's most stunningly beautiful places to visit, boasting no fewer than 263 protected natural areas, covering almost a quarter of the island's territory. In addition, there are nine UNESCO world heritage sites and countless species of wildlife that can only be found in Cuba. It is a natural haven demanding to be explored.
Last Woman on Earth knows this and celebrates it in abundance. Sara Pascoe throws open the island's doors to the BBC viewers, showing the jaw-dropping wonder of Viñales natural park as well as lesser-known towns like Baracoa, a hidden gem which has been preserved for hundreds of years since the Spanish arrived.
Making Cuba this Winter's "go-to" tourist destination
With Cuba's long list of evident charms, more and more tourists are making the decision to fly to Havana to explore the island themselves. The BBC's Last Woman on Earth documentary should reinforce any holidaymaker's desire to add Cuba to the top of their list.
The colours, the pace of life, the architecture, the music, the unique wildlife, the natural beauty, and even the gastronomy all convince Westerners to visit this Caribbean island. However, with this prime-time slot on BBC2, it's the charm of the Cuban people on our television screens who make the decision even easier.