Survival With Ray Mears Review: Man Scout
SURVIVAL WITH RAY MEARS: Sunday 18th April, ITV1, 7pm ALERT ME
He can survive in any wilderness on earth, but beer-bellied boy scout Ray Mears is no longer satisfied with trying to avoid the fang-toothed animals of the wild – now he wants to catch them.
His new series is called Survival With Ray Mears but there’s not a lot of surviving going on – he spends most of his time on the back of a land-rover with a rifle strapped on his back. But it’s not about Ray staying alive, its focus is on endangered species and the threats they face.
To kick things off he’s in Namibia helping to track the elusive savannah leopard. Though protected within the Erindi Game Reserve, when they stray onto surrounding farmland they face slaughter from farmers.
Our bushcraft expert teams up with the rather lovely Natasha who runs a leopard protection project. The aim is to track down Houdini, a large leopard that is rarely seen but manages to escape every trap set for him. Ray is clearly enchanted by the leggy, tanned Natasha and they share moments of awkward flirting, none more excruciating then when Ray mimics the movement of leopards having sex which he reads from markings on the ground.
The problem with Ray is that his skills are no longer needed. Wherever you are in the world it’s never far from a McDonald’s and if it is, what the hell are you doing there anyway? Is it really necessary to fashion a saucepan from tree bark and bamboo leaves when you can dial up Domino’s Pizza on your GPS phone?
Out on the savannah Raymondo’s ability to identify paw prints is admirable but ultimately useless. All of the real leopard finding is done in a helicopter or with a radio tracking device. When a farmer thinks a leopard has mauled his goat Ray takes great pleasure in correcting him. A study of the marks in the dust show a hyena was the real culprit. The farmer doesn’t care what it was – Ray’s not willing to buy the mutilated goat and nor will anyone else be.
Survival is a gentle journey with an affable expert even if his expertise are now obsolete. Ray’s love of nature and the lay of the land is endearing even if his knowledge is nowadays a little unnecessary.
One last thing, if you’re reading this Ray – please purchase some longer shorts. It would be fine but you insist on squatting, fly forward, at every opportunity. If you keep crouching like that, one of these days we’re going to get an eyeball full of stray bullock and there’s no surviving a sight like that.