WILD IRELAND: THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, BBC2, 9pm
YOU’D be forgiven for thinking this new nature and travel series is actually about Africa.
It opens with a shot of a roaring yellow sun, and birds dipping into golden water, and then some blazing red sunsets, but it’s nowhere as exotic as Africa. At least, it’s not geographically exotic, but we are on the West coast of Ireland, once considered “the edge of the known world”, so it has an exoticism all of its own.
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The pace of this programme is beautifully slow and meandering, as though we’re strolling the coast, not roughly exploring or adventuring. On any other channel, the presenter would be breathless and shouty and splashed by sea spray. Here, in the company of wildlife camera-man Colin Stafford-Johnson, we’re made to feel like he’s extending a friendly hand to us and saying: “Let me show you around.”
We see eagles, whales, seals and deer, although the beautiful scenery threatens to dwarf these fantastic animals. But you don’t need to take your pick: sit back and enjoy both.
RICH HALL’S COUNTRIER THAN YOU, BBC4, 9pm
HALL’S gruff, deadpan manner makes him a great TV presenter as there’s never the sense that he’s giddily pushing an agenda on you. The viewer can imagine him saying: “Well I like this stuff. If you don’t, then that’s your problem.”
In this programme he explores the origins of country and western music, visiting Nashville and Austin. Bringing in two cities is a clever move as it dismantles the idea that country music is all about drunken men brooding over their faithless women. That might be the popular image, but the genre actually sprouted a huge variety of styles, blending bluegrass and western swing together to create different forms of country music such as “cosmic country” and “redneck country”.
Hall shows the different styles and how they evolved.