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From a British point of view, Australia feels pretty well mapped out. So if, like Simon Reeve, you’re embarking on a travelogue, you’d better come up with something new. Reeve’s an amiable yet shrewd presence and generally keeps himself out of the story. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t ask tough questions. He visits a fair bit of familiar territory in tonight’s episode, but usually finds a new angle.
For example, his trip to the Great Barrier Reef is viewed through the prism of Australia’s burgeoning coal industry – with exports expected to increase fivefold over the next few years, what price the maintenence of this pristine and unique ecosystem? Elsewhere, he’s shocked by a detention camp for illegal immigrants and horrified by a despairing Aboriginal town. There’s fun too, but Reeve manages to bring his brain along for the ride on this enviable working holiday.