Monty Halls’ Great Hebridean Escape: Run To The Hills

April 20, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


If your favourite colour is grey, you enjoy reorganising the contents of your fridge and John Major makes you look like Jason Bourne, then this might be the programme for you.

Monty Halls is off to the Hebrides to volunteer as a wildlife ranger for six months. This is one of the remotest places in Britain with a huge array of natural wildlife which includes 11 species of whale and dolphin, 20,000 seals and a declining human population. So you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d be in for an untamed menagerie of wonderful wildlife, set against the backdrop of windswept rocky hills and open waves.

Sadly, what we’ve got instead in Monty Halls (is it me or does he sound like a character from Wind In The Willows?) trying to start his Land Rover, bumbling around with locals who know far more than he does, trying to start an amateur farm and digging holes, lots of holes.

Monty meets with Jimmy, the former ranger for the islands before the funding ran out. He’s a wealth of knowledge and most of the interesting titbits of information come from him – how to identify cockles under the sand on the beach, the correct way to dig peat and the best way to cast a fly fishing line.

Monty essentially just follows him around soaking up his advice and adding nothing to the proceedings other than some dry commentary with his dog Reubes. Even he doesn’t seem convinced of himself – occasionally muttering “fantastic, fantastic, very interesting? while staring sheepishly at the ground.

Part of the problem is that Monty’s expertise is as a diver and marine biologist, which would make him ideal to present a show about underwater life. But so far, everything takes place on dry land so it’s just a programme about a bloke who doesn’t know much doing some stuff.

Only the traditional highland games where Monty gets to interact with some of the locals are entertaining or interesting (and made funnier when Jimmy nicks his boots for the tug of war). Monty doesn’t reveal any of the island’s hidden qualities – there are barely any shots of the so-called incredible wildlife and the barren majesty of one of Britain’s remote places is hardly ever showcased.

Its hour long running time is far too much for anyone to take because by the end, the only thing you’ll want to escape from is Monty Halls.

Wisha says:

Oh come on, Rueben is worth the price of admission. And St. Kilda is fantastic. Otherwise, you’re right about Monty. Still, for those of us who can’t get there often enough, I love imagining myself in that cottage for 6 months, eating bacon. Lots of bacon.