Catch up TV review: Our Wildest Dreams, Unreported World, Fatberg Autopsy
James R | On 29, Apr 2018
Our Wildest Dreams (All 4)
“It’s not Yarmouth, that’s for sure.” That’s Mari, a business woman in Greenwich, who’s finding her feet in Ecuador. Not because she’s on holiday, but because she’s moved there to be with her husband. If you’re already re-reading that last sentence, that’s precisely the reaction Channel 4’s new programme is going for – far from the normal climes of the French Riviera or a holiday home on Crete, this is a relocation programme that actually explores an expat with a real challenge: A Place in the Sun this ain’t. The result is really quite staggering, as we see Mari master a new language, strive to make friends, pet a tapir, and learn how to wash clothes by hand in a river – a long way from the comfy surroundings of SE10. Watching her trying to eat a bug for dinner, putting on a brave face for her daughter, is more heart-wrenching that any episode of I’m a Celebrity…, and the difficulty of adjusting to life in the rainforest, in a house with no walls, only reinforces the love this wife clearly has for her husband. The only downside is that we don’t get to stick around and see what happens: Episode 2 will move on to another family. Where’s Davina McCall doing a follow-up one year later when you need her?
Unreported World: The World’s Dirtiest Air (All 4)
Once again, Channel 4’s news strand dedicated to lesser known stories more than justifies its existence, as it tackles an issue from the other side of the world. The place? Mongolia. The problem? Pollution. The ever reliable and expertly tactful Marcel Theroux braves the toxic air of capital city Ulaanbaatar with a sensitive, inquisitive air, revealing how cases of lung infections have rocketed in the last decade – to the point where even indoors in his bedroom, an air purifier can’t help to solve the problem. An eye-opening glimpse of a situation you’d otherwise be unaware of, this is an important call to remedy a public health disaster, and an urgent reminder that pollution is a global challenge.
Fatberg Autopsy: Secrets of the Sewers (All 4)
“It’s at least 750 metres…” says one man from Thames Water, as he pores over a map of London. He’s not talking about a road, or even a river, though, but describing a gargantuan monster lurking underneath the streets: a “fatberg”, a gigantic, hulking mass of fat that has gathered and is now threatening to block the capital’s sewers. It’s just one of a dozen currently squatting in the tunnels of city, something that has led the country to spend millions on groups of Thames Water employees to go and pick the blobs apart. Rick Edwards joins a crew and commentates their quest with a worrying enthusiasm – prepare to hear words like “congeal”, “lard” and “fatberg” over and over again for one queasy hour.
But there’s science to this disgusting spectacle, as Edwards’ team analyses the fatberg (there it is again) to work out what’s causing all this fat to amass below us. Alongside our diets, wet wipes are a major cause, as the programme reveals that “flushable” isn’t the same as sewer-friendly, even prompting one major brand to to change its packaging to be clearer about how our waste risks bringing London’s sanitation system to a halt. This is fascinating repulsive, and repulsively fascinating television – you’ll want to throw up more than once, but at least you’ll think carefully about where that vomit goes.