Nice penguins make for harmless TV
Ann Pickles Saturday, 17 July 2010
Everybody loves penguins. If you can’t love a penguin you just can’t love. Penguins have the ah-factor factor built in.Penguin Island (BBC 1) is exactly the kind of television treat you need, when life’s left you feeling a tad jaded.
It’s a soft-centred toffee documentary. Harmless, charming, sweetly honeyed and fun.
A series about a penguin sanctuary on Phillip Island, a few miles off the south coast of Australia, it uses Rolf Harris as voice-over – just to add to that childhood retro sense of comfort. Like Animal Hospital all over again, here is a big fat, schmaltzy public relations job for penguins.
The cute creatures were set up in a sort of soap opera cast to roll out their adventures in love, sex, family and death.
Bluey was coupled up with Sheila but Sheila had gone fishing and not returned. Would Bluey be able to protect their eggs from the nasty, lurking, thieving fox and the equally sneaky snake?
How will the highly-charged love triangle work out? Which bird will get the flirty girl – Spike the dimwit or Rocky the loner?
Watching gorgeous, comic creatures waddling around on two-inch legs, following their sociable little lives unfolding with highs, lows and extra marital liaisons is as comforting as reading Janet and John with a cup of Horlicks at bedtime.
As funny as Fawlty Towers, as soapy as Corrie and as heartwarming as any tearfully happy ending rom-com, Penguin Island is one of those rare wildlife series with more than great photography to recommend it.
Penguin Island is neither cutting edge nor innovative. But it is enchanting.
To use a word which should never be used it’s... nice. Not earth-shattering, not mind-blowing, not barrier-breaking. But nice – for everyone who loves a penguin.