Extreme World (Sky 1), TV review
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Wednesday 29 January 2014
Swimming with hungry sharks is child's play compared to the stunts of the bravest documentary-making hard man of them all. We speak, of course, of Ross Kemp, who, for this third series of Sky 1's Extreme World, was held up at gunpoint by a Papua New Guinea tribal warrior and still managed to conduct his interview calmly.
A lucky thing that hold-up was, too. After traversing "one of the most dangerous roads in the world" without incident, Kemp was clearly chomping at the bit for some action. If it hadn't been for that gun in his face, the only available evidence of his hardness would have been the ident at the start of each advertising break, in which our leather-jacket-clad, cross-armed presenter fixes us with his most intimidating stare.
Extreme World was ostensibly in the troubled state of PNG to investigate a culture of tit-for-tat violence, epidemic-level rape and bizarre witchcraft accusations. The machete-wielding men he interviewed suggested government corruption, societal breakdown and the damaging influence of Western internet pornography as root causes – but this film left those avenues largely unexplored. Kemp concluded instead that the country was "its own worst enemy" and that the solution lay in taking responsibility: "Ultimately, that decision is down to them."
It wasn't a particularly useful conclusion, but Kemp still proved how unfair it is that he's often lumped together with dilettante documantaries like Danny Dyer's Deadliest Men and Shaun Ryder on UFOs. He's a much more sensitive interviewer and approaches his subjects with a more serious interest, even if he does usually come across like an off-duty copper.
Really, someone should make a documentary about Kemp and his trajectory from soap star to Fleet Street widow to a globe-trotting documentary-maker with a string of hits under his dad-jeans belt. At the very least it would provide more insight into the roots and effects of a macho culture that – let's be honest – is hardly confined to the lawless highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party