Remote Control - Saturday 06 July 2013

The fisherman’s tale is off the scales

Monday, 15th July 2013, 10:23 am
Jeremy Wade with a tigerfish

Cooking, home restoration and now fishing.

All well represented in the daily TV offerings.

Lobster Wars and Deadliest Catch go down the Ice Road Truckers route, showcasing the dangers of the professional crews.

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Mudcats, the handfishing hicks of Oklahoma, is an anthropological mickey take of Yankie rednecks.

While Wicked Tuna is commodification and capitalism of nature – humourless greed about numbers, money and paying bills.

But if you watch inspiration get on River Monsters.

Proper dad and lad viewing that avoids soaps, celebs and wannabee new ‘Talents’.

Biologist Jeremy Wade 
explores freshwater folklores, debunking myths along the way with passion and 

The first series went with the predictable targets of massive Amazonian catfish and piranha, albeit informative and hugely entertaining.

This is, after all, a published author – Somewhere Down the Crazy River – who has been detained as a suspected spy, caught malaria, threatened at gunpoint, survived a plane crash and survived drowning.

Wade is a gem, engaging with the locals, seldom flustered, and never, you could say, a fish out of water whether he’s in the Congo, the backwaters of Colombia, on the banks of the mighty Mekong or in the meltwaters of the Himalayas.

And the beasts he’s chasing get stranger by the episode.

What about the giant tigerfish? More than 6ft long with the jaws and teeth of a crocodile, this beast is covered in armour plating.

The invasive maneating snakeheads – which can ‘walk on land’. The Amazonian Arapaima: a 10ft long fish that rams predators with the force of a car.

Malevolent river spirits, villagers swallowed whole and witchdoctors’ spells thrust the whole show along.

And then the titles lure you in – Mongolian Mauler, Asian Slayer, Invisible Executioner, Pack of Teeth, Phantom Assassin and Lair Of Giants.

This week he smeared himself in fishguts to demonstrate how big eels grow in New Zealand – after passing a waterway known as ‘The Bad Place to Cross’.

I’m hooked, every Tuesday ITV4, 9pm.

Alan Burrows