Last Chance To See

If there’s one thing the BBC do very, very well, it’s whimsy and nature programmes. That’s two things, granted. However, the two tend to meld into one another like the way otters melt into water.

Last night, our resident otter was Stephen Fry who, it seems, is unable to do any wrong… unless you count those Direct Line adverts he’s voicing with Paul Merton (surely they don’t need the money that badly do they?).

The prospect of a travelogue-cum-nature show starring Stephen Fry is a fine one indeed. Fry showed us what a fine travelling companion he is in his road trip around America and it’s obvious that he’s man more than willing to marvel at the spectacles of nature (no, nature isn’t short sighted).

So in his new show, Last Chance To See, viewers will have invariably sat down and settled in for the TV equivalent of a nice cuddle with some lovely vowels purred by Fry over nature’s finest.

In the case of the first show, we met the animal kingdom’s equivalent of Stephen Fry in a rather charming and doughy creature called an Amazonian Manatee. They both pad around their respective environment making those around grin and widen eyes.

The Stephen fell over and broke his arm. Of course, it wasn’t a particularly pleasant sequence. Watching Fry wince in agony is like watching someone taking a shit on Lonesome George (the last known Pinta Island Tortoise of the Galápagos Islands). Yet somehow, Mr Fry even made this segment charming by managing to avoid turning the air blue and instead, offering rather sweet little complaints, albeit at high volume.

Yet, amongst all this sweetness and fluffiness, the show is based around the most depressing concept you could ever wish to see on the box. The clue is in the title. Mankind, at its core, is a dreadful and destructive force. Absolutely everything that you’ll ever see that is truly ugly is man made.

In all this, we’re killing off animals until they cease to exist and Fry is on a trip to get one last look at all these creatures before we shoot the last tiger and turn its head into an ornamental mop bucket or something.

While the veneer is sweetness and light, this programme is a showcase and tribute to how rubbish humans are. In this series, there are six reminders of how fond of ridding the world of an entire species for kicks we are. If that doesn’t make you depressed, then you’re probably stroking a still smoking shot gun right now and have a pile of beastly cadavers on your lawn.

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