TV Review: Fox Wars, BBC1


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The Independent Culture

Are you more of a cat person than a dog person? Or a fox person? Let's hope it's not the latter because fox people are a very strange bunch, as revealed by Fox Wars, a nature documentary all about the human animal. Janet in south Wales once took great pleasure in her well-kept garden; now it's little more than a battleground in the ongoing fox vs human conflict. She has sat for hours on the garden swing, camouflaged under a blanket and armed with a curtain rod (don't ask), but the local fox seems to have got the better of her.

Nobby from Barnet, north London, is another casualty of the Great Fox Wars, only he's been fighting for the other side. Not only is Nobby very relaxed about fox visitors to his garden, he even encourages return visits by preparing dog food feasts for their delectation. Sophia, 20 doors down, would be livid if she knew. She's tried nearly everything to protect the chickens she keeps in her back garden from the growing fox population. Someone on the forum suggested male urine was a good repellent – has she tried that? "No, my brother wasn't up for it."

It's tempting to dismiss the people in this programme as wealthy retirees with too much time on their hands, but that didn't make it any less revealing. This was a tale of suburban obsession and the relationship with nature that's been lost by our move into cities. When these ambassadors of the wild turned up on the doorstep, the variety of responses was fascinating. Some attempted to turn them into cuddly family pets, others began organising a massacre, and everyone insisted it was a pure respect for the natural world that spurred them on. In the end, the only one who emerged from Fox Wars with any dignity intact was Mr Fox, and he's a mangy, flea-bitten vagabond prone to defecating in public.