The success of some TV formats must take channels by surprise. I don’t think the BBC ever counted on The Great British Bake Off being the star of its schedules. Likewise, I think they were also caught off guard by the success of The Real Marigold Hotel. They had probably written it off as a light-hearted documentary revolving around old age and culture clashes. Too fluffy to be worthy, too full of painful truths to be just entertainment. It was supposed to be ignored by critics and viewers alike.

And yet, it proved to be a bit of a sleeper hit. People genuinely enjoyed Miriam Margolyes and Wayne Sleep et al. careering around India, offering sage insight into old age. So much the so, the new series has been promoted to BBC1, a sign of faith if there ever was one.

The cast this year is broadly similar. There’s the dancer (Lionel Blair), the soul diva (Sheila Ferguson), the cook (Rusty Lee), the retired sport star (Dennis Taylor). If things aren’t broke, why fix them? The only real change is the location, moving to the southern Indian state of Kerala.

The culture clashes are still present. Blair is constantly appalled about how unclean everything is, although the others take a more pragmatic approach. Buying underpants proves to be an unexpected challenge for some. And Ferguson nearly had a full-blown diva strop on a sleeper train.

But then there is the beauty of the country. India appears to really know how to astound the senses. Brightly coloured temples assault the eyes. The wildlife is off the charts for sheer magnificence. And anyone seeking spiritual enlightenment is spoilt for choice, not least with alternative medicines. That’s before you even start with the festivals, the music, the food – you name it, India has it in spades.

It isn’t shy on offering insight into the cruelty of old age as well. Take, for instance, Lionel Blair’s recovery from prostate cancer, which has left him with a bloated stomach he hates (although a meeting with an alternative medicine doctor suggests a sweet tooth could be playing a part as well). Bill Oddie is also refreshingly open about his mental health, offering the gallows humour that so many with similar conditions have.

To think the message is about how well India treats the old is wrong. Yes, we have the stats on price of living and the like, but this isn’t really what the show is about. It is about not letting being old stop you seeing and doing new things. The joy of life is the big story here. And so it should be.