Last Night's TV: Giant Squid: Inside Nature's Giants Special/Channel 4
Reggie Perrin/BBC1
Sex Trafficking in Cambodia – Stacey Dooley Investigates/BBC3

On the (highly) scientific scale of natural squirmyness, cephalopods rank pretty high. Even grilled, seasoned with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, they take a certain oomph to tackle. Raw, enlarged and sprawled on a dissection table... well, suffice it to say thank goodness it wasn't tea time. Not for me anyway.

"It splatters crap all over you," we were cheerfully informed as a team of biologists cut open our squid's digestive gland. Gruesome, yes, but possibly the least remarkable thing about last night's Giant Squid: Inside Nature's Giants Special. The whole series has been pretty good, but this was spectacular. Until 2006, there was scant evidence that the species even existed: a bit of blurry film footage, a quick glimpse under water. Then some Japanese scientists managed to film one on the ocean's surface. In deep seas, said Richard Dawkins, things tend to reach exaggerated proportions. Even a woodlouse (here he whipped one out) can grow as big as a cat.

Anyway, forget sharks. Imagine being eaten by a squid. Not only are they huge, flabby and – shudder – tentacled, but their mouths are like little razored plug holes. Amazingly, we know so little about them that we don't even know how they hunt. Normal-sized squid catch their prey by rapidly darting out their tentacles, before yanking the unsuspecting creature into their meat-grinder mouths, literally shredding it as they go. Giant ones might do the same (their mouths come with a built-in file, a sort of tongue with teeth, for extra mincing) but they might not. They could, hypothesised our hosts, "use stealth rather than speed", cunningly dangling their tentacles far below them until they grope a meal, at which point the hunting process is really a fait accompli, so strong and sticky are their long limbs. At the end of the day, nobody knows. Being eaten alive by a squid would, I imagine, be a lot like being sucked into a cold, wet, cement mix. Again, just a hypothesis. Whatever, it puts Jaws to shame.

Giant squid have three hearts. This is so they can (a) breathe but also so that they (b) spurt out air, jet-propeller style. They can also spurt out ink, and change colour at whim. They might – another hypothesis – be able to light up like a bulb so as to disguise themselves when silhouetted against the ocean's surface and they can also almost certainly hear. Still, their brains are minute, the size of a broad bean. Their oesophagus, oddly, runs through their brain. For all its extra-terrestrial weirdness the giant squid is not, as they say, the sharpest tool in the box. If intellect is what you're after, it's not the squid you should be looking at, it's the octopus. But you knew that already: how else could Paul have predicted the World Cup so accurately? Octopuses can be trained, can learn stuff, figure out problems. They can open boxes and navigate mazes. Thank heavens they're not as big as the giant squid. Well, not that we know of.

One complaint: an hour and twenty minutes. Was that really necessary? In a word: no. Dawkins et al were fascinating, but they would have been all the more so had they not rolled on for quite so long. They said it themselves. Little squid = delicious. Giant ones = bitter on the tongue.

Reviving Reggie Perrin wasn't a great idea when it came to the first series. The fact that the BBC has gone in for a second stab is even more mystifying. In truth, if you were a fan of it last year, you probably still will be. Not much has changed: the whiff of My Family, Martin Clunes's perpetually incredulous expression (remind me again why I'm doing this?), the decade-old can of laughter. The question is, was anyone a fan of it last year?

Either way, last night went something like this: our hero, titan of middle management, awoke to realise that flogging male grooming products was not, as it turns out, what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. And so he resigned, very publicly, displaying the sort of flamboyance that would make an internet prankster proud. And then he commenced, briefly, life as a pioneer of self-sufficiency. He drew pictures of a marrow, played with some wood and made his way down to the job centre all by himself. Along the way there was a stint as a shelf-stacker, a bout on the psychotherapist's couch, and the news that Reggie's father was soon to marry his mother-in-law. Meh.

It was while dragging my heels from the sofa to the DVD player that I realised I didn't particularly want to watch Sex Trafficking in Cambodia – Stacey Dooley Investigates. Don't get me wrong: I like Dooley. I gave her programme last week (similar format to last night's, only it was child soldiers in the DRC, rather than underage sex slaves in Cambodia, that she was "investigating") a good review. It's just that she's best in small doses. She's totally charming, her fresh-faced enthusiasm as emphatic a foil to the blank-eyed despair of Phnom Penh's working girls as ever. Still, I'm not sure I could handle a whole series of her unfiltered yoof-speak. Once a year, as things are, well... that's just about perfect.

Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Arts & Entertainment
Rory Kinnear in his Olivier-winning role as Iago in Othello

Oliviers 2014Actor beat Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston to take the award
Arts & Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for this roles in Sherlock and Star Trek
TV

Arts & Entertainment
theatreAll hail the temporary venue that has shaken things up at the National Theatre
Arts & Entertainment
musicShe is candid, comic and coming our way
Arts & Entertainment
booksHer new novel is about people seeking where they belong
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

    Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

    Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
    Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

    Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

    The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
    Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

    Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

    The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
    Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

    Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

    This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
    Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

    Education: Secret of Taunton's success

    Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
    10 best smartphones

    10 best smartphones

    With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
    Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
    The pain of IVF

    The pain of IVF

    As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal