Last Chance To See – Blue Whale Review: Stephen Fry’s Fish

October 17, 2009 by  
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FRY300X200LAST CHANCE TO SEE – BLUE WHALE: Sunday 18th October, BBC2, 8pm ALERT ME

Twenty years ago, when Douglas Adams set off around the globe to write his timeless book Last Chance to See, Stephen Fry stayed at home and looked after his house.

This time the British actor is making the trip himself – although he has lazily opted to make a few TV shows rather than get his pen out.

To be honest that’s fantastic news for us, as we are all too bone-idle to read about endangered species – a documentary is like a television-book anyway.

In this final episode of the series, Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine – who joined Adams on his trip a couple of decades back – are trying to capture a glimpse of the biggest animal on the planet.

They set off to Mexico (or rather the ocean which surrounds Mexico) but deviate from their task on several occasions to learn about the habitats they will encounter.

As always, the well-spoken actor is warm and very likeable as he splashes around with typical exuberance, and even manages to keep his enthusiasm when he is sent to collect sea lion droppings.

Obviously the resounding theme of the programme is the need to protect these mammals from the meanest animals on the planet – people with harpoons (whaling is still widespread in Japan and parts of Scandinavia).

But there is also an undercurrent which explores how some ecosystems have been affected by man. One striking example is the extinction of the Yangtze River dolphin through a plethora of human factors.

When we hear that the Yangtze River basin is now home to a staggering 10% of the world’s population, we begin to understand that the Flipper’s Chinese friends didn’t really stand a chance.

Sean Marland