'Inside Dubai' episode 3: puppy parties and supercars 'couldn't be further from the truth'

The final instalment of the BBC docuseries ruffles feathers again, with its showcase of super-rich lifestyles

The third and final episode of BBC's 'Inside Dubai' was shown in the UK on Monday. AFP
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Puppy parties, black truffles and women-only supercar clubs were the focus of the third and final instalment of the BBC documentary Inside Dubai: Playground of the Rich, which was shown in the UK on Monday night.

The three-part series has ruffled more than a few feathers since it was first broadcast earlier this month, with many accusing the show’s producers of portraying a “one-sided” and “out-of-date” view of the city.

Episode 3 continued the show’s theme of introducing us to some of the city’s most successful and wealthy residents, and offering a glimpse behind the curtains at their lavish lifestyles.

We met Italian resident Massimo Vidoni, aka “the truffleman”, who keeps Dubai’s top restaurants supplied with black truffle, imported fresh from France, and his own brand of caviar.

“I dream truffle, I talk truffle, I eat truffle – I am almost a truffle myself,” he jokes, as he delivers his daily loot across the city, worth £27,000 (Dh135,000).

We also see him preparing morning scrambled eggs for his young daughter before she heads off for school, topped with a generous shaving of black truffle, naturally.

We are also introduced to Shaheen Debenedictis, doggy party planner and owner of Shampooch UAE, who is throwing a birthday celebration for Bonnie the Yorkshire terrier, complete with human-grade food, carrot cookies and little lattes.

Bonnie is turning 2, and has invited a few pals to come and celebrate the occasion.

Elsewhere, we meet Chris Wright, owner of Dubai events company Secret Parties, who discussed his plans for the “world’s most expensive brunch”, as well as Gargash Hospital chief executive Ghada Sawalmah, a member of the first all-women supercar club, Arabian Gazelles.

Sawalmah, who was referred to as "Gaga" on the show, takes us along on an outing with the Gazelles, with dozens of supercars taking a drive to the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah.

“Global warming is amazing. We end up having snow up there nowadays,” she says from behind the wheel of her £200,000 limited-edition matte green Mercedes AMG.

As with previous weeks, the social media reaction to the show has been far from kind.

“A lady called Gaga really said ... ’global warming is amazing, we have snow on the mountains’ whilst her and her friends drive supercars,” Twitter user Patel Bros wrote.

Another said: “An hour of gluttony, gaudiness and narcissism.”

Many were quick to point out, yet again, that the show did not represent Dubai in its true light.

“Making a judgement on Dubai by watching #insidedubai is like watching #thecrown and thinking everyone in England is the same,” wrote Lee Ryan. “You couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“Can't help but feel this programme isn't doing Dubai justice at all. These self-centred influencers are everywhere not just in Dubai. It's a beautiful place to visit. Incredible architecture, nightlife and attractions,” another Twitter user wrote.

The sentiment was shared by one of the show’s subjects this week, an art collector named Charles, 65.

“Dubai offers much more than just tall buildings and golden Lamborghinis,” he said, despite the narrator’s comments that the city is “lacking in cultural pedigree”.

“I think Dubai can help make your dreams come true, but it’s a mistake to come here thinking everyone’s super-rich and you will be too,” said Twitter user Anna Kent. “It’s just not like that for the vast majority of people.”

Updated: January 27, 2022, 12:02 PM