TELEVISION / Briefing: Nature red in tooth and claw

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The Independent Culture
You know the bit in the wildlife films where the leopard finally brings down a gazelle, dragging it off by the neck for a spot of lunch in the long grass? Well, BBC Bristol has decided to package a whole lot of such moments under the title HUNTERS IN THE WILD (7pm BBC1), a remorseless catalogue of murder, mayhem and munching; the nature film equivalent to Driller Killer or Death Wish 2.

It's a jungle out there, but, fortunately for lovers of fair play, Darwinism works for both hunters and hunted. Rain forest bats, for example, imitate the mating noises of mud-puddle frogs in order to get them serenading (a vunerable position for any species). The frogs have learnt their lesson and - ever innovative - now tune into the bats' sonar.

These are the educational and edifying moments, otherwise it's polar bears eating seals, snakes eating bird eggs, crocodiles eating wildebeest. Someone has goofed, however, by scheduling this at the same time as large swathes of the population will be eating their beefburgers and chips. On the other hand, someone has a sense of humour: this episode is called Dining Alone, and Sir Anthony 'Hannibal Lecter' Hopkins narrates.

(Photograph omitted)