When creating a travel programme called ‘Explore’ on a particular destination, it would seem important to make it spectacular and interesting, and a bit of exploring probably wouldn’t go amiss.
When the BBC Explore series launched last Sunday night, I had high hopes for it, but perhaps the title of ‘Fleeting Mish Mash of Wonderful Argentine Landscapes Interspersed With Frustratingly Pointless Interviews’ was a bit too long.
Argentina has such a fascinating history, and some of it was touched upon, as were some of the incredible landscapes in the ice fields of Patagonia, but why did we spend five precious minutes in the front room of a guy who counts penguins for a living when we could have been hearing about the Welsh settlers in Chubut, or seeing the whales and elephant seals of Peninsula Valdes?
And when in romantic, captivating Buenos Aires, why did we spend 10 minutes with a wacky church minister determined to have Eva Peron recognised as a saint, while using a large expanse of open wasteland as a backdrop as he explained his plans to build her a giant pyramid?
One phone call to Alan Whicker could have told them – it’s the destination that’s the star.
And why we are at it, why couldn’t the three presenters come up with even one word of Spanish between them?
It is at this stage I realise I sound like one of those letters that people used to write in to Points Of View in the 1980s to be read out by Barry Took which is slightly alarming, but it has to be said – what a muddle of a programme, and how wildly frustrating for people to tune in for a gourmet Argentine feast – an asado for the senses – to be handed a half chewed piece of leathery stewing steak to make do with instead. It could have been so much better.
If, after all this, you would like to watch it, you can view it on the BBC iplayer for the next few weeks – just fast forward through half of the interviews.
If you want to get to know the real Argentina, book our Gauchos and Glaciers tour here , or for more information call Steve Murray direct on 01606 720046, and you can also read feedback on our December 2008 tour published in a previous blog ‘Back From the Argentine’ on January 7th .
While we are at it, here is Alan Whicker from back in the day when travel shows really were travel shows. Half way through the clip he is actually at Iguazu Falls, which you can include on our tour if you like.
For a bit of nostalgia, here is the late Barry Took doing his stuff back in 1985.
“The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else do it wrong without comment”.
“The further one travels, the less one knows”