Pick of the week

Out­back Na­tion with Jamie Durie Mon­day, 9.30pm, Life­style Home (128)

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

The pitch for this new se­ries pre­sum­ably went some­thing like this: Crocodile Dundee does back­yard land­scap­ing — and fun­nily enough, it works. En­ter Jamie Durie, with a “that’s not a knife, this is a knife” ma­chete on his hip, a didgeri­doo play­ing in the back­ground, here to help Amer­i­can fam­i­lies con­quer their out-of­con­trol back­yards. In this first episode, Durie meets the Far­leys of Florida, who have lost con­trol of their 2000 square me­tre back­yard, not least of which be­cause al­li­ga­tors have taken up res­i­dence. (Thank­fully, he re­frains from wrestling them, and calls an­i­mal con­trol.) But in a twist on the genre, Durie doesn’t merely com­plete the work, and chap­eron the fam­ily though the fin­ished prod­uct; he puts them to work. Not only that, but he also in­sists they camp in the back­yard dur­ing the project too. The Far­ley fam­ily’s re­quire­ments are di­verse, but Durie de­liv­ers a Lacrosse prac­tice area, an artist’s stu­dio, an al­li­ga­tor fence and a dock. He puts his body on the line, too. I’ve seen enough fake drama on re­al­ity shows to know he very nearly falls out of a tree in this first episode. Ear­lier this year, he cat­a­logued his in­juries from the se­ries: “I’ve bro­ken two fin­gers, a rib, dis­lo­cated a shoul­der, drawn blood pretty much daily.” The sub­text is just as much about Amer­i­can cul­ture as it is gar­dens. “We didn’t just make over the Far­ley back­yard, we made over the Far­leys,” he says.

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