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Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero

Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero

Sun Apr 21, 8-9pm, BBC2

By Phil Harrison
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Episode one
So who might this jungle hero be? Goldie? Ed Rush? General Levy? Nope. It’s Victorian naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, the Pete Best of evolutionary theory. Charles Darwin, with his influential but, as it turns out derivative ‘On the Origin of Species’, got all the glory. But Bill Bailey’s keen to celebrate this intrepid scientist who, while Darwin was swanning around the Galapagos islands, was going native in the jungles of Borneo, gorging himself on the stinky durian plant, being driven to distraction by the natives’ music and collecting thousands and thousands of insects.

Bailey makes the trip too, in considerably more comfort, one imagines. But still, he throws himself into the assignment with great enthusiasm; a dilettante, but a mightily enthusiastic and likeable one. Maybe he can finally secure Wallace the recognition he clearly deserves.
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