Ice Patrol Review: Ship Programme

April 8, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

ICE PATROL: Friday 9th April, FIVE, 8pm ALERT ME

Ice Patrol does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s men in a boat, patrolling icy water. Though why, I and I’m fairly sure those involved, are not entirely sure.

Built around the same kind of Trawlermen premise of a simple men-at-sea docu-series, which actually turns out to be fairly perilous and entertaining, Ice Patrol depicts the journey of one of the few ships in the navy’s fleet that has the power and the know-how to cut through the dangerous ice of Antarctica. I was entirely oblivious to the fact that Britain had territorial control of Antarctic waters, but I’m also in the dark as to why they need to patrol them. Their journey and reason is perplexing, but they’ve got a lot of sailing to do should they pass the rigorous testing this instalment covers.

What’s more interesting in this episode is the David Brent-esque sea captain who is stepping down. He seems to be placing a lot of significance on this event, which clearly isn’t met by the crew. Through his various clichés and paradoxes, his beloved workers stare on blankly. He shakes their hands, which they accept politely. I think he thinks this is the Titanic or something.

The dangers of the job are described carefully to us throughout. If they got into bother in the icy blue, they’ll be screwed, and there’s also a risk of fire and engine failure. Instead of us seeing those perils – the entire episode is made up of drills to prevent those exciting things from happening. I kept thinking something brilliant was occurring, some sort of event – but it was just another training exercise.

Additionally, to get you tuned in after each ad break, they end the section with a cliff-hanger which is of extremely mild proportions. “Should they fail the exercise, they won’t be fit for the sea”. It’s no Titanic iceberg danger approaching, just the simple doubt about whether they’ll pass a test. It’s all very informative, just not very eventful.

The only piece of action any of the crew get is firing the guns in their practice sessions. That, and the mere idea of the mysterious ice-breaking, is the only thing to keep this crew going. I guess ignorance is bliss.