Thursday 19 April 2018

Better call Steve for these lethal creatures

Presenter Steve Backshall.
Presenter Steve Backshall.

John Boland

At the outset of the new UTV Ireland wildlife series, Fierce, presenter Steve Backshall (pictured) told us he was "risking life and limb" to encounter the most dangerous creatures on the planet.

Indeed, so macho was Steve in his speech and demeanour that he made Bear Grylls look like Little Bo Beep, and the only thing that seemed to be missing from the programme's stark title was an exclamation mark.

As it turned out, though, he proved an amiable companion in the first programme's excursion to Indonesia, and he even spoke the lingo fluently to all the locals he came across.

Well, not to the lethal stonefish, which was maybe the ugliest specimen of marine life I've ever seen and which you'd be ill-advised to tread on if you're paddling on an Indonesian island beach. Steve showed us the poisonous scales on its back. Ouch.

He also showed us the world's largest lizards on Komodo island. Now there be dragons. Steve ran in front of one dangling a leg of deer meat and the damn thing nearly caught him, which seemed to please Steve no end. "It's a world where the rule is: kill or be killed," he said happily.

The Danish thriller series Follow the Money (BBC4) came to a satisfying close, and with a chilling little coda, too. This has been an unusual drama in that it featured no one for whom you could really root, not even the dogged main cop, whose family problems were something of a bore.

But the plotting was good and the tension was expertly ratcheted up. What will we watch now on Saturday nights? The Ray D'Arcy show?

And Tuesday nights will be without the weekly instalments of Better Call Saul (Netflix), which ended as elliptically, indeed enigmatically, as we might have expected from a series that has always insisted on going its own sweet way.

It's been a second season full of surprises and of quirky little scenes that seemed inconsequential but that linger in the mind weeks later.

I'll miss it.

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