Pest wranglers put to the test
Amber, a horse trainer from Essex, comes in close contact with one of Australia’s more challenging pests “Australia, home to some of the deadliest pests on the planet — it’s so overrun by these killer critters they’re calling in reinforcements from Britain,” the boisterous narration from English actor Mark Benton tells us at the start of Deadliest Pests Down Under.
He intones with echoes of the brilliant Dave Lamb’s voiceovers for the great series Come Dine with Me — in on the joke, ironic, but at the same time energetic in delivery, reflecting the way viewers may be feeling as they watch the overthe-top action.
This truly weird reality series follows the trials and tribulations of nine British pest controllers as they are moved thousands of kilometres to Australia, where the critters are bigger, scarier and have many more teeth. It’s one of the broadest reality comedies around but no less entertaining because of its obvious targeting of a kind of lowest common denominator of viewer.
The notion behind it is simple: Australia’s pest problem is out of control and, as numbers continue to climb, the country’s pest controllers have called in the cavalry. It’s an amusing idea and it gets the appropriate tabloid treatment.
Each Brit is paired with one of Australia’s toughest pest controllers: real-life Crocodile Dundee Barefoot Bushman Rob; Col, who is quite comfortable juggling funnel-web spiders; and Kylie, who likes to call herself a “snake Yoda”.
Some scenes appear genuinely dangerous, which gives the voyeurism more purchase, especially when mole catcher Louise from Norfolk is sent to the Billabong Sanctuary in far north Queensland to assist Rick the croc wrangler to extract more than 50 eggs from a nest while the female crocodile watches from the lagoon. Animal Planet. Monday, 9.30pm,