That curious British institution Springwatch - sex and violence for the respectable viewing classes, or a cheering reminder that Nature's still carrying on doing its thing - kicked off (if that's not too vigorous a term) last night. The ineffable Bill Oddie and his long-suffering minder Kate Humble are now based in Norfolk - yes Bryan, while you were away they came and and turned your spread into the Springwatch production village, sorry about that.
It's a rum do, is Springwatch, and getting rummer with the passing years... Oddie seemed to be spending his time practising his facial tics - yes, okay, he's a twitcher, but this is ridiculous - watching the monitor and grumbling at length about the cold, while poor old Kate humoured him and kept the show afloat. As ever, the sights to be seen on the various feeds vary from the amazing to the no-show - but what is striking is the disparity between all the state-of-the-art high-tech electronic wizardry being put to use in the filming side of things, and the utterly ramshackle presentation.. No doubt it's part of Springwatch's strange charm, but a similar mismatch between presentation and what we're seeing on screen pervades nearly all wildlifee programming. While the camerawork is dazzling, state--of-the-art stuff, the commentary is more like out-of-the-ark - a succession of off-the-shelf clichés, lashed together and served up against a background of portentous, equally off-the-shelf music. What we see is astonishing, what we hear is, as often as as not, dross.