Britain’s got talons
BBC4 – 2008
Following the success of Julian Fellowes’ bad tempered hosting of Never Mind the Full Stops (a poor man’s Many A Slip); and Kirsty Wark’s bad tempered hosting of THe Book Quiz – where both manage to patronise contestants, and appear to have no sense of rapport with any member of the human race – BBC4 continues its new trend for celebrity based gameshows with a new falconry based reality show. Hosted by David Starkey (clad in a ruff and Tudor garb) from one of Henry VIII’s palaces a team of highbrow celebrities fitting for the BBC4 audience learn the skills of falconry and then patrol sporting arenas attempting to kill pigeons. The pilot with Sebastian Faulks, Antonia Fraser, and Derek Jacobi was well-received – but the appearance in the later series of Yann Martel finding metaphors in the quiet flight of an Eagle Owl coupled with Curly from Coronation Street grappling with a peregrine falcon in a quasi-comic fashion prompted Starkey into paroxysms of rage – and an unfortunate incident with a real tennis racquet. The resultant legal action brought a premature end to the series.