Alexander Armstrong in the Land of the Midnight Sun, ITV, TV review: Awesome Arctic landscapes were the stars of the show

Armstrong proved a gently entertaining guide around the Arctic Circle in this new three-parter - sea creature-killing aside

Sally Newall
Wednesday 14 October 2015 22:00
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Alexander Armstrong shivers in the Arctic Circle
Alexander Armstrong shivers in the Arctic Circle

Blimey, it’s tough in the Arctic Circle. Forget singing for your supper, Alexander Armstrong, the presenter of In the Land of the Midnight Sun, was tasked with catching his and killing it in this opener.

Armstrong in the Arctic

On this first leg of his freezing 8000-mile travelogue, he was in Scandinavia and Iceland. Up in the Lofoten Islands, he went line fishing and slaughtering Arctic Cod. Armstrong looked a bit green around the gills as he slit throats while filling us in on sustainable fishing. Later, he headed to the Russian border to catch crabs (not like that). He was after the Red King crab, a lucrative species that was first released by Russian scientists in the sixties and whose numbers now top 20 million. Poor Armstrong was tasked with stabbing the critters through the heart. “In nature, if you want to eat, you need to be able to kill,” said his guide. “You enjoyed it a little bit too much, but that’s okay.” They like their dark humour, those Scandis.

There were some breathtaking Arctic scenes

Armstrong was a likeable – if not particularly rigorous – presenter. He did a good job of conveying the otherness of the scenes he was looking at to the viewer: “This is impeccably remote,” he said "The closest I’ve seen to a lunar landscape.” His style was akin to an enthusiastic distant relation at Christmas - game to get stuck into proceedings, but not needing to be centre of attention. “It’s like walking into a humbug,” he said on entering some Icelandic caves, making sure those impeccable landscapes were the stars of the show, rather than him.

@sally_newall

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