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
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions