BBC's I Bought a Rainforest: A jungle adventurer's grand plans are cut down to size in a revealing documentary

 

Don't make the same mistake Charlie Hamilton James did and assume this is going to be simple.

Two years ago the wildlife photographer and wannabe conservationist hit on a scheme to save the Peruvian rainforest. He would buy 100 acres for the knock-down, bargain-basement price of £6,000. Neither that endeavour nor the three-part documentary that came of it were as straightforward as you might think.

I Bought a Rainforest (Sun BBC2) involved much more jeopardy and excitement than your average wildlife documentary, having more in common with the second half of Apocalypse Now. In between admiring exotic beasts, Hamilton James stumbled upon evidence of illegal logging, members of an uncontacted native tribe and – most worryingly – a cocaine dealer's plantation. He wasted no time in erecting a hand-painted sign (translation from the Spanish: "Get ooorf my land!), but it is going to take more than that to deter the local machete-wielding drug lords.

To add to your enjoyment, whoever wrote the script for voiceover clearly had a grudge against our adventurous presenter. The narration noted reproachfully that, "Conservation is a luxury enjoyed only by the rich." Hamilton James was moved to tears by the felling of a rare mahogany tree; the film cut to a shot of a lumberjack and added, "There's one species that depends on this tree that Charlie didn't think to photograph."

Yet, even as his motives and methods were gently undermined, it was hard not to warm to Hamilton James. When confronted by the ethical complexities of environmentalism in the developing world, most people give up long before he does.

It was Andy, a young British biologist working at a working at a local conservation centre, who best summed up the slowly dawning truth: "The imperialist idea of buying up rainforest in a developing country isn't the solution. Charlie can't save that land until he convinces local people why it's important to do it."

There are more predators in Coronation Street (ITV) than the Peruvian jungle, as poor old Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) has found out to her cost. Last night she was still in intensive care, but it's not looking good – either for Tina or the long-term viability of this storyline. The Lucy Beale whodunit in rival soap EastEnders is due to drag on till next February, assuming Ian Beale has a deep enough reservoir of snotty tears to last till then. We've been promised a speedier resolution on Coronation Street, but as yet killer Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis) remains free to roam the streets.

DS Hawthorn seems like a competent officer, but she hasn't caught on to the most suspicious detail: why would two attractive Weatherfield women be fighting over Peter Barlow? He's a deadbeat dad, a raging alcoholic and as Rob astutely observed a few episodes back: "He wears waistcoats, for crying out loud! He should be at the Crucible playing Ronnie O'Sullivan."

As if to distract us from this lingering mystery, Nick (Ben Price) chose this moment to demand the truth about Kal (Jimi Mistry) and Leanne's (Jane Danson) affair. Wailing Nick clearly has the same acting coach as keening Ian Beale, though since Nick's been able to blame everything else on the brain damage he sustained in that car accident, why not the melodramatics too?

Not sure what Rob's excuse is. He concluded this episode with the kind of clunky foreshadowing, rarely seen outside of a telenovela: "I promise you, Peter is going to pay for what he did... [long pause, a look into the middle distance]... I'm going to make sure of that."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future