Pest wran­glers put to the test

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television - Dead­li­est Pests Down Un­der,

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,

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