Canada: A Year In The Wild review

Review by Christopher Stevens for Mail Online website on Friday 5th October 2018:

Canada: A Year In The Wild

Rating ★★★★☆

Canada: A Year In The Wild (C5) was the perfect prescription. Its sumptuous wildlife photography looked glorious on a big-screen telly, and the mesmerising voice of Poirot star David Suchet floated over it all.

We watched foxes hunting for voles in the snow, bighorn sheep wrestling for mating rights, and bald-headed eagles plunging into icy water to seize trout.

The untouched wilderness, in this vast and sparsely populated country, was spectacular. Canada, the honeyed tones of Mr Suchet informed us, has more lakes than the rest of the world combined, and hundreds of mountains higher than Ben Nevis.

Flying squirrels can glide 300 yards in a single leap. Beaver dams have a single entrance underwater, to keep out predators. Gradually, as he poured down these facts in a torrent of silver, my tensions drifted away. Any aches were numbed, anxieties were quelled. This was a massage for the soul.

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The Great British Germ Hunt, Channel 4, review: ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria made for great TV

Review by Jeff Robson on iNews website on Sunday July 8th 2018:

The Great British Germ Hunt was a dream or a nightmare depending on your fascination with/aversion to the trillions of bacteria that live in our skin and share our environment. Kate Quilton had assembled the usual Channel 4 team of telegenic enthusiasts, including John Simm look-and-soundalike Dr Joe Latimer, who were clearly in the “fascinated” camp and keen to share the secrets of the microbiome – the unique combination of organisms in our body.

Its conclusions – “good” and “bad” bacteria both play a part in our overall health; exposure to a bit of dirt might be better than over-reliance on antibiotics – weren’t exactly groundbreaking. But this was more an excuse for some fun experiments with a high “eeuggh!” factor. There was “before and after” testing of festival goers to show how many species could be acquired over a three-day period in which personal hygiene took a back seat. A “kissing booth” to show Salford University students how many bacteria were exchanged during the average (and indeed above-average) smooch. A swabathon of Britain which revealed Swansea to be the “good bacteria” capital. And (my favourite) the Fantastic Voyage-style journey of a miniature camera pill to one guinea pig’s gut biome which yielded images “like abstract art”. I feel a Tate Modern installation coming on…

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Chris Packham: In Search of the Lost Girl review – the big picture via a small photograph

Review by Sam Wollaston on The Guardian website Mon 29 Jan 2018

Twenty years ago, while filming in Sumatra, Chris Packham took a photograph of a young girl. She was a member of a tribe of hunter-gatherers called the Orang Rimba, who lived harmoniously with their jungle environment. For Chris it was an immensely significant encounter.

Now, he’s going back to see if he can find her again. Not driven by sentimentality or nostalgia, though there might be a bit of that, but because he sees the girl as a sort of barometer, a way of measuring the condition of the planet. Indonesia – Sumatra particularly – has seen some of the world’s most devastating deforestation, millions of hectares of rainforest destroyed to make way for productive crops, mainly oil palm. “If she’s still out there, living harmoniously in that environment, then there’s hope for us all,” he says. “But if we’ve robbed her of her habitat, then we really have got something to fear.”

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TV review: Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist

Review by Carol Midgley on The Times website on Thursday 7th December 2017

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist
National Geographic

Much tosh is talked about the “look of love”, the dreamy gaze said to fall across smitten people’s eyes when often they’re probably just drunk or wondering: “Am I going to get my leg over tonight?”

But what we saw in Dian Fossey’s eyes last night seemed to me to be love in its most selfless, uncomplicated form. In glorious footage from the 1970s and 1980s, in which she interacted with Rwandan mountain gorillas, cuddling two orphaned babies as if they were her own children, her eyes shone with what was surely an expression of pure human happiness.

But not for long. Fossey’s life evolved like a film (locals called her “the woman who lives in the forest without a man”) and it ended like one. Just after Christmas 1985 the primatologist was macheted to death in the cabin where she worked saving gorillas from poachers. The murderer was never brought to justice, though a PhD research student, Wayne McGuire, was found guilty in absentia by Rwandan courts on flimsy evidence.

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Winner: Popular Broadcast Award

John Bishop's Gorilla Adventure - Wildscreen Panda Awards

2016 West of England RTS Awards – Best Daytime and Early Peak

Operation Meet the Street

Hippo: Nature’s Wild Feast

Panda Award : Wildscreen

Awards List

  • International Wildlife Film Festival: Honorable Mentions for Historical Perspectives and Technological Advancement
    Birds of Paradise
  • Best Human-Wildlife Interaction Award : International Wildlife Film Festival
    Black Mamba White Witch
  • Wildlife & Natural History Programs Award : 30th Banff World Television Awards
    Titus: The Gorilla King
  • Best Animal Behaviour Programme Award : Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
    Titus: The Gorilla King
  • Best Direction in a Lifestyle/Practical Information Series :Canadian Gemini Awards
    Austin Stevens Adventures
  • Best Daytime/Factual Entertainment Award : RTS West of England awards
  • Special Jury Prize : RTS West of England awards
    Everest: Beyond the Limit Season 2