Martin Clunes Man and Beast TV Series

Martin Clunes Man and Beast TV Series

Martin Clunes Man and Beast TV Series

Martin Clunes loves animals, has loads of them at home in Dorset. He also sends some of them – such as his male Dexter cattle (little ones, basically bonsai cows) – to the slaughterhouse. And it’s got him in a bit of a muddle. So he’s off round the world to explore man’s ancient and complicated relationship with animals. Man and Beast With Martin Clunes (ITV) it’s called.

He starts in Nepal (pre-earthquakes), where cows are sacred and aren’t eaten, and provide just about everything. They supply milk, of course, and associated dairy products. Also their dung is used to produce gas. And their urine for insecticide. So Martin gets to collect the cowshit, water it down and stir it up in what looks like a butter churn. Then he stands behind a row of holy pissers, with a cow potty, waiting for a divine bovine golden shower (glamorous world, show business, no?). It’s a guessing game, because he doesn’t know who is going to go first, so he needs to be on his toes. The wee, when it finally comes, gets sprayed on the courgettes.

In Japan, he goes night-fishing with cormorants for sweetfish (“Mmm, it is sweet,” says Martin, sounding surprised, when he tastes it). And he meets a bear hunter; they almost have an encounter with a bear in the forest, but it turns out to be a bird. Never mind, the man has one he prepared earlier (a bear stew). But Martin can’t quite stomach it. “I thought I could,” he says, “but now I’ve met the bears [the man has a couple in cages waiting to be casseroled], I can’t.” So rude – and the man got it out of the freezer especially.
Back in Nepal, Martin looks at the relationship between man and elephants, which has had its ups and downs over the centuries. No downs lower than the footage of one being electrocuted to death in Coney Island – by Thomas Edison! Great inventor and elephant murderer – they don’t tell you about that at school.

No electrocution today, thank God, but a nice bath in the river for the elephant, while Martin tickles its belly. Also sweet. I don’t think Martin is totally unmuddled, some contradictions remain. But maybe he’ll take some new ideas home to his Dorset farm. Cooking on cow farts, perhaps.

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