Tropic Of Cancer: Bore Guide

March 19, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

TROPIC OF CANCER: Sunday 21st March, BBC 2, 8pm ALERT ME

In yet another travel-doc, plucky presenter Simon Reeve travels from Western Sahara to Libya telling us little about anywhere he visits.

He’s already done the Equator and Tropic of Capricorn so to complete the set is off along the Tropic Of Cancer.

Simon starts off trying to be all ‘current affairs’ but wastes most of the opening learning about kite-surfing. After spending too long struggling to just keep hold of the sail on land, he finally gets in the water and decides he still can’t do it and gives up.

We learn briefly about the area’s struggles from a quick chat with a fisherman but it’s not too long before Simon’s on the move again hopping on a train to Mauritania.

For a brief moment the trip goes a bit Fear And Loathing and there’s a really surreal homo-erotic scene where Simon and his tour guide, seemingly inebriated by their tuna sandwiches, declare they can see each others buttocks and collapse in fits of girly giggles.

Did they cut a scene of Simon buying some psychedelic cactus plants at the local market? What the hell is going on here?

The half-day long trip is thankfully edited down and soon we reach Mauritania. Here he learns that men in the country like their women to have big bums and we hear from a strange woman ranting about how well she eats. Quite how this relates to North African politics I don’t know but before you know it we’re off again to Libya.

Here Simon has a snobbish snigger at his ‘government appointed guide’ who it turns out is related to Colonel Gaddafi. Trying to make him seem sinister completely fails and the dictator’s double turns out to be quite a pleasant chap.

This rattle along the line of latitude doesn’t tell us enough about any of the countries visited and Reeve never really gets to the heart of the matter.

He seems like some student who has never finish their gap-year and certainly not someone you’d want to be stuck back-packing with. I’ve never heard someone say phrases like “terror torn nation? and “deep in bitter conflict? with such chirpy enthusiasm.

Trying too hard to be both hard-hitting and Louis Theroux-like he ends up more like a public school Frank Spencer. With people like him wandering the globe, I think I’ll stay in.