The Durrells is good TV, isn’t it? Easy to watch, funny, feel-good, with beautiful settings and good actors.
I heard it’s not really much like the actual family at all but that’s ok because the TV show has taken on a new life. I’ve been reading a bit about the Durrell Foundation as well, which Gerald set up on the island of Jersey in the 1960s: it aimed to protect endangered species from extinction, recognising the worrying rate at which wild species were dying out in their habitats. It was the first time a zoo took on a significant conservation role.
Some of the species that the foundation focus on can be found here and include the black lion tamarin and the pygmy hog.
I’ve been enjoying this new BBC series called Spy in the wild.
They send these robot cameras in various disguises to live amongst the animals, blending in and secretly filming. The animatronic spies are very amusing.
Here’s a good clip that also shows how intelligent and curious animals can be:
What has been interesting is that technology becomes the narrative – the animal families engage with the cameras, seeming to know that they look like themselves but that something is not quite right. A group of monkeys accidentally drop one monkey spy and they all gather round and mourn it.
Ok, so the best photography is actually captured by the real human cameramen who shoot from a distance, but it’s a new way of doing nature TV that is showing some interesting behaviour.
Over 600 hundred people have complained about the recent animal killings in Channel 4’s The Island With Bear Grylls, which sees male and female contestants stranded on separate remote islands in the Pacific and left to fend for themselves.
Channel 4 received 450 complaints, mostly to do with the broadcast of contestants killing and eating several pigs, and a separate episode in which contestants killed and ate a crocodile. The croc turned out to be a rare and endangered species, not usually found in that area. Channel claim this was a genuine mistake and have promised to replace the American crocodile.
A further 185 complaints were directed to Ofcom, which is considering whether to launch an investigation into the animal murders.
PETA has criticised the programme’s apparent use of animal cruelty to boost ratings.
“Killing animals is a cheap ratings ploy and sends an especially harmful message to young viewers, who are greatly influenced by what they see on TV. Bear Grylls and the producers should be prosecuted. Fame doesn’t mean immunity.”
Animal abuse and even murder has a long and sickening history in TV and cinema, but these days audiences are wise to it and rightly outraged. This list talks about some of the most famous examples of how animals were harmed in the making of this film, including the notorious ritual slaughter of a water buffalo in Apocalypse Now.