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.”

Read the full review here:

Nat Geo doc film-makers praise Netflix’s influence

Dian Fossey: Secrets In The Mist makes extensive use of Nat Geo’s archive of the primatologist

Oscar-winning director James Marsh and 12 Year Old Lifer filmmaker Zara Hayes have hailed the impact of Netflix on factual storytelling and the power of archive footage, ahead of the release of National Geographic doc series Dian Fossey: Secrets In The Mist.

The US cable channel’s latest premium offering examines the life, work and death of American researcher Fossey, who was the inspiration for the 1988 film Gorillas In The Mist.

The Tigress series premieres on 6 December and features The Jinx-style recreations of Fossey’s unsolved murder in Rwanda, alongside extensive Nat Geo archive.

Marsh, who directed Man On Wire and Project Nim and executive produces Secrets In The Mist, said there are more options than ever before for factual storytellers, ranging from feature docs to 10-part series, by way of shorter series with advertising breaks, such as this project.


Sigourney Weaver Will Narrate Miniseries Event Commemorating Dian Fossey’s Life and Legacy, Including Footage of Mountain Gorilla Cantsbee, a Silverback Known and Named by Fossey Who Recently Rejoined His Gorilla Group

Film Has Exclusive Access to Over 40 Hours of Rare and Previously Unseen Film Footage of Fossey and Her Pioneering Research, Revealing New Insights Into Her Life and Work

(Washington, DC – Jan 23, 2017) — National Geographic President, Original Programming & Production Tim Pastore announced today that the network will partner with Academy Award-winning Executive Producer James Marsh (“Man on Wire,” “Theory of Everything”) and Tigress Productions, part of Endemol Shine Group, on the three-part special Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist, to honor the life and groundbreaking legacy of gorilla researcher Dian Fossey. Sigourney Weaver, nominated for an Academy Award and winner of the Golden Globe for her portrayal of Fossey in the 1988 film “Gorillas in the Mist,” will narrate. With exclusive access to over 40 hours of rare and previously unseen film footage of Fossey and her pioneering research with gorillas, the series will reveal new insights into her life and work. The series is currently in production and will air globally on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages in fall 2017.



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