Review of the BBC Radio Play – Lunch (recipe link included) Rated 5 stars – #MarcyKahan #ClaireSkinner #StephenMangan #Audible #Play #BBCAudioBooks

Lunch
By Marcy Kahan
Starring Claire Sinner and Stephen Mangan
Rated: 5 Stars *****

Lunch has it all. It has food and friendship, so many aspects of life between 2 characters who lead different lives and come together once a month. It has a large helping of the most wonderful humour and warmth. It also has family life, employment life, romance. It also shows that whatever you do, whatever your views, you can still be friends. It has so much that would be relatable to so many people. This is one sitcom I’ve listened to a number of times, it is that good!
I finally had a bit of time to spontaneously write a review. Also check out the link I’ve added from BBC Good Food and also the Audible Link  to the sitcom itself in the review.

Find out more in the blurb and my review.

Lunch

Blurb

Stephen Mangan and Claire Skinner star in all five series of the popular BBC Radio 4 comedy drama.

Bill works as an economist in a right-wing institute giving succour to bankers and businessmen. Bella teaches yoga, waters the plants in Canary Wharf and holds Proust seminars for retirees. Years ago they shared a flat before Bill got married and moved to America. Now he’s back and feeling a little off-kilter, so he decides to rekindle his friendship with Bella.

Once a month they get together for lunch, where they talk about everything from politics to Proust, parenting and the perils of online dating. The only thing they never discuss is how much they love each other….

In Marcy Kahan’s delightful “platonic romantic comedy”, we join Bill and Bella as they meet, eat and disagree about everything; and over the course of four series, we learn their hopes and dreams and listen in as their lives change direction.

Review

I first came across Lunch on BBC Radio 4 a few years ago. It is so easy and such fun to listen to, that I’ve listened to it quite a number of times. It’s one of the most fabulously entertaining and humorous two-hander plays from BBC Radio 4 and now can be found on Audible, that is still as important then as it is now, in such divisions of countries, including the UK. It also features wonderful food as Bill (Stephen Mangan) and Bella (Claire Skinner) meet once a month in cafes as you hear their lives play out. Expect lots of mentions of glorious food from pho-ga (Vietnamese chicken soup) to eggs to salad and more… Just below is a link to a recipe that I use to make pho-ga at home. It sounds more complex than it is and is heartwarming, aromatic deliciousness. I think so anyway. I got inspired to try it out when listening to the play…

Click link for recipe:
BBC Good Food Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho-Ga) Recipe

This play is so important for our times. It shows how two people who have very different jobs, lives and opposing political views can still civily meet-up for lunch and talk about life, work, family, loves and generally have a nice time. It’s a pretty spectacular message and one of unity. This is a essentially a comedy and is really rather funny as Bill (Stephen Mangan) and Bella (Claire Skinner) get to a point of where they just aren’t admitting their feelings for each other. It also cleverly weaves wit into their differing views. There is also the coming together to help each other out by listening to each other and giving advice to even Bill trying out a bit of roleplay with Bella to practice for an interview on Newsnight. There is much wit when Bill asks what Bella is looking for out of no less than 3 lovers who she meets. The way some of the lines are said (as throughout), are pure fun! This shows what brilliant actors Stephen Mangan and Claire Skinner are. They bring Marcy Kahan’s intuitive and witty script-writing to life in such a believable way.

Both characters are easy to like and care about what happens to them. It is one of the most uplifting radio plays and one that has an important point to say, that it doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are on for jobs or politics, you can still be friends and you may even become lovers. There’s a sense of unity amongst that so-called dividing line, and that’s what makes this glorious, as well as the laugh out loud humour. There is a lot to smile about in this audio play.

Audible Link          Click here for Lunch

Lunch

#Review (by Lou)- Even More Trueman And Riley by Brian B. Thompson, @brianbthompson Starring @RobertDaws and #DuncanPreston #Audible #CrimeFiction #TruemanRiley

Trueman & Riley
Starring Robert Daws and Duncan Preston

Created by Brian B. Thompson

I started listening to Trueman & Riley during lockdown 1 and now getting back to it in lockdown 3, in between work. I’ve been savouring it because it is such a fantastically entertaining series, first created for the BBC, with a sensational cast, that can be listened to on Audible.

Written by BAFTA-winning dramatist Brian B. Thompson, this smart, entertaining crime drama stars Robert Daws as Trueman and Duncan Preston as Riley. Written by Brian B. Thompson. Produced and directed by Toby Swift and Jenny Stevens.

Links to previous episode review Chapters 1 – 5             Chapters 7-10

Below is episodes 11-14 reviews and with just a few more to listen to, it’ll be my weekend treat.

TruemanRiley

Chapter 11

A Man’s World – Back in the office  after a stint in the Student Crime Prevention Team, they back on the front line are on the case of thefts from pregnant women. Eileen Hayes is one of the midwives on duty as the local hospital is under scrutiny, where the crimes are committed.
There is interesting attitudes and points made about equality within employment. It cleverly puts a new slant on things and still most pertinent and an angle rarely talked about, making A Man’s World, not as predictable as listeners would think. There is quite a mammoth twist within this tale.
There are secrets in the midst with one of the women. Listen to find out who is telling the truth in this gripping episode.

Chapter 12

The Other Sheik This is a different start. There is a chase from the beginning for a potential perpetrator. A woman runs a lingerie shop on her own and it’s quite humorous in how she sees Trueman as she is being asked about what happened. It weaves in elements of the topic of objectification. There are some double-entendres and enough to make Trueman, perhaps hot under the collar, or squirm.
There are fires amongst lingeries shops and listeners can find out if or what the connection is and there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Chapter 13

Love Bites  banker boyfriend reports his 32 year old girlfriend missing. The case involves the real world and the virtual one and how people spend money in certain virtual games. The denials and the truth of Trueman and Riley and their thoughts on the virtual reality game is fun as is  how they create and use their avatar selves. It is fun how they use this to help solve the case.

Chapter 14

Every Dog Has It’s Day causes much excitement when the phone rings to report a murder case. It is not what they expect, which makes it funnier, but got to feel sorry for Trueman and Riley. Got to feel sorry for the victim and the brutal killing it endured. It isn’t their usual sort of case, to say the least and Riley wouldn’t mind being in with a person who is attached to the victim, despite not really being a match and Trueman trying to steer him into the mindset of the case, instead of women, or one woman who just happens to be divorced, but one with quite a history attached to her and she isn’t all as sweet as she may first seem. There’s also that age old thing of how married people behave with their husbands when a single person is around.
There’s some quips from Riley back to Trueman too.

More Trueman And Riley by Brian B. Thompson, @brianbthompson Starring @RobertDaws and #DuncanPreston #Audible #CrimeFiction #TruemanRiley

Trueman and Riley
By Brian B.Thompson
Starring Robert Daws and Duncan Preston
Rated: 5 stars *****

Written by BAFTA-Winning dramatist Brian B. Thompson, who brought us Byker Grove amongst other great series and Robert Daws, who co-created this series, this is a very enjoyable series that mixes crime and humour to great effect.
I started to listen to Trueman and Riley, nearer the start of lockdown because I enjoy the the creator’s work (Brian B. Thompson and Robert Daws) and the acting skills of Robert Daws and Duncan Preston. I have, as regulars around my blog will see, been very busy with books. Today however I’ve had a bit of time to return to this wonderful BBC radio play that can now be found on Audible. I have reviewed the first 5 episodes previously and have a link here. In this latest post, I have quick reviews on episodes 6-10.
The series continues to be a wonderful mix of wit and hard-hitting subjects with a good amount of intrigue and twists. It’s a terrific series to listen to. There are 18 episodes, each self-contained, in the series. I fully intend to listen and write a review on the rest.
Here is a link to my review on the first 5 episodes Episodes 1- 5 review and below are episodes 6-10 and a bit about the main actors involved.

Trueman

Chapter 6

Anna Douglas, ages 25, a journalist for Real News.com in Story, has been discovered by Trueman and Riley and is critical after a “fall” from a considerable height from a building. Trueman and Riley have to get to the truth of whether she accidentally fell or was pushed.

Trueman and Riley trying to find their way around how to deal with the press is funny.
This may have been created a number of years ago, but it throws up very modern attitudes and how everything seems to be filmed these days, incuding, in this case, Anna Douglas in her hospital bed without knowing whether she will live or die.

Trueman and Riley are on the case to discover motive and who would want to see Anna out the way.

Chapter 7

There’s a stolen ring worth £1000s, a James Bond convention all at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Bond. It’s all a Bond Villain theme. With quick-witted lines and Bond references aplenty, a “Who’s Who” of name-dropping, who played in Bond, this is enjoyable and great for any Bond fans. It’s all a bit of fun!

After much humour, a mysterious person shows up on CCTV, creating the intrigue…

Chapter 8

In Speed, Riley is in a huff over his own misdemeanor over his driving habits, over which he has to attend an awareness course, much to his frustration. He manages to do some networking and use it to his advantage to gain info, amongst someone talking about being on the job of road traffic, which Riley finds anything but riveting.

There’s a company ran by Frank Butters who Riley ran into at the course, that may or may not be rather dubious, it’s up for debate between Trueman and Riley and then also investigation. There’s some hard-hitting parts within it, wrapped up in how “Dust and Polish” works.

The story unfolds well with its humour and twists and turns.

Chapter 9

The Road to Nowhere – Riley is concerned about their careers as they find themselves at Woodhouse police station. Trueman is a bit more positive. They’re seen as “legends”, but Riley is being “eaten up” by frustration, which begins to  cause tension between the two.
They are needed to look into crime amongst students at Leeds University.  There’s a video-cast being done to raise awareness of crime. Items have been nicked and there’s the mystery of who is Chic-Lit 33 on E-bay.
There are some twists in this tale of crime and deception.

Chapter 10

The Three Degrees finds Trueman and Riley still part of the Student Crime Prevention Team and an attempted drowning.
The debate between going to and not going to university between Trueman and Riley throws up some fascinating points.
Through the mist on the CCTV throws some light on the situation at the side of the canal.

Jane is a GP married to Paul, who is a lecturer in economics and Nick who is a children’s and radio writer. There’s a get together where past students stay in their old student houses and hang out around their old haunts.
There are secrets and twists being held in this particular student house from when these now past students were there during 1982/83.

About the Actors

Robert Daws

Robert trained at RADA. He is an actor on stage, screen and radio. He is also an author.
His many television credits include: Dr Gordon Ormerod in eight series of The Royal, Sam Mountjoy in three series of John Sullivan’s Roger Roger and Tuppy Glossop in four series of Jeeves and Wooster. Also, Roger Dervish in the award- winning Outside Edge. (Nominated Best Actor-British Comedy Awards). He has also appeared in Father Brown, Death in Paradise, Midsomer Murders, New Tricks, Doc Martin, Casualty, The Bill, Lovejoy, A Bit of Fry and Laurie and many more… He has also appeared in films – An Unkind Word and Swimming With Men to name but a few…

Theatre work includes Most recently Alan Ayckboun’s Ten Times Table, Michael Frayn’s  Alarms and Excursions and Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s hit comedy, How The Other Half Loves. Other plays include Sherlock Holmes, Yes Prime Minister, Diary Of A Nobody at the Theatre Royal, Blackbird  for which Robert was nominated for Best Actor in the Manchester Evening News Drama Awards. He has also appeared in Summoned by Betjeman.

A regular contributor on radio as actor and broadcaster, Robert has read biographies of both P.G Wodehouse and John Betjeman for Radio 4 and co-created the long running radio series, with writer Brian B Thompson, Trueman and Riley, in which he plays D.I Trueman. He also played Prof. David Poll in the comedy series Higher by Joyce Bryant and Arthur Lowe in Roy Smiles, Dear Arthur, Love John. Also, Goodnight From Him, in which he plays Ronnnie Barker in the story of the Two Ronnies, Incredible Women by Rebecca Front and Jeremy Front and others… He has also happily recorded audios for Dr Who and Torchwood for Big Finish.

Books – His first crime novella, The Rock, was published in 2012 and made the top of the Amazon Bestseller list five times. 

His second Sullivan and Broderick murder mystery, The Poisoned Rock, was published in Sept 2016. His third in the series, Killing Rock, His ghost story, Tunnel Vision – also set in Gibraltar, is Amazon No 1 bestseller.

The books are now being republished by a different publisher, which is exciting. I have also been informed by the publisher there is a new book on the way too. Please do look out for publicity on all of the books. They are great reads and I’ll also be involved in reviews for them, so please do also look out for those.

Duncan Preston 

He has had many appearances in television productions written by Victoria Wood including his roles of Clifford in the soap opera parody sketches Acorn Antiques, including Acorn Antiques the musical. He also appeared as Stan in the sitcom Dinner Ladies.His other television roles include appearing in EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. He played Jonathan Haslam in the sitcom Surgical Spirit. He has also appeared in The Royal, The New Statesman, Press Gang, Midsomer Murders, Dalziel and Pascoe, My Family and more.

In theatre, he has appeared in many Shakespearean productions, including MacBeth and has also been in other plays such as – To Kill a Mockingbird.

He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Bradford for his contributions as an actor.

Trueman & Riley by Brian B. Thompson, Starring Robert Daws and Duncan Preston @brianbthompson @RobertDaws #DuncanPreston #TruemanRiley #CrimeFiction #Audible #Review

Trueman & Riley
By Brian B. Thompson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Review written by Louise

Trueman

When I noticed Robert Daws was tweeting about Trueman & Riley being available on Audible, I thought I would take some time to listen and decided I would review. It’s written by BAFTA-Winning dramatist Brian B. Thompson, who brought us Byker Grove amongst others. Robert Daws co-created this series.
Brian B. Thompson, Robert Daws and Duncan Preston are masters at their craft and have been involved in many, many well-known projects on screen and theatre, from Dinner Ladies to The Royal, to Ten Times Table. You can find more about them below, after my review…

Review

First things first. This is a series that will entertain and is definitely worth listening to and I do highly recommend it. You will find this BBC drama on Audible these days.

Trueman and Riley is crime fiction, with episodes being complete within themselves. They’re mysterious and endearing with a mix of the serious and humour, with Trueman – played by Robert Daws and Riley played by Duncan Preston solving together. They are put together to work, but as much as they seem to get on with each other, they both have different ways of working and differing attitudes.

Duncan Preston and Robert Daws play their parts very well. Both are strong, enjoyable actors who certainly know how to entertain and shift from humour to the serious. Their timing is extremely good. They’ve definitely brought the scripts to life exceedingly well and convincingly, in what was originally for BBC radio.
As for Brian B. Thompson, well, his script-writing is terrific. The characterisation is so well thought out as more about his characters – Trueman and Riley drip through each episode. Then there’s the crimes and subjects that are within them that are big and some of them, as well as his characters are thought-provoking, without them making for heavy listening. That’s quite a skill in itself!

As they are so good, I have decided to tell you a bit about the episodes and a little about the performances of the 2 main actors, here and there.
There are 18 episodes, so here are the first 5 to whet your appetitie to get started listening to this BBC series. Each episode lasts around 40-50 mins. They’re smart with accomplished writing and acting. They all make pleasant listening to. They aren’t cosy crime, but not gritty either, somewhere inbetween as they twist and turn with hard-hitting topics and crimes.

As mentioned before, the whole series can be found on Audible.

Trueman

Chapter 1

Trueman has been passed fit to work after time off and there’s a case to be solved. He would rather “ease” himself in, but that isn’t going to happen. There’s humour to be had between his new boss and Trueman. It’s a sharp drama. Riley and Trueman are partnered up for the cases. Trueman has his issues to bear with. He has a self-help relaxation tape he listens to…. until his phone interrupts the calm, medititive voice filling the room.

The first case is a student – Louis – shot! He has past form with drugs and there’s humour that he was studying criminology. 
There’s a rather poignant bit between Trueman and Riley, when Riley thinks he has Trueman all worked out. It all gets rather thought-provoking about everyone being human. You can really get the feeling that Robert Daws understands his character – Trueman and between his acting and the script, he’s created a very believable character, with light and shade and determination and poignancy.
Duncan Preston plays Trueman’s opposite well too as his character tries to accept they’ve got to work together and has perfect timing.

The case is rather intriguing as fellow student – Amy is questioned, who Trueman humours with asking for her opinion. It’s intriguing as there’s no evidence to be easily found. There’s interesting ways people link, such as the university professor and Amy being raped previous to the murder of Louis. The connections between Louis, Professor Crichton and Amy and a time capsule are interesting in their twists and turns and powerful people hiding behind their titles and their “superiority” and “egos”.

Trueman

Chapter 2

The second case takes place at a race course at Angel Heights. Emma – a stable jockey is found murdered. There are hard-hitting topics of the hinting at what goes on within the racing world. Huntley is suspected at not going by the morals of rules. In an uncomfortable sounding room, listeners find out a little bit about Trueman and Riley’s life, their marital status.
It’s interesting attitudes in the stables and there’s some jealousy around Emma’s success. Things get interesting with Keith giving tips and there’s more than meets the eye going on with under-hand tactics. There’s mysterious love letters uncovered as are Huntley’s archaic views.
There’s humour between Riley and Trueman with Riley looking for horse tips and enjoying breakfast a bit too much for Trueman’s liking. Robert Daws and Duncan Preston play the 2 characters being friendly enough, but also rubbing each other the wrong way at times with great drama and to good effect. It’s pretty realistic.

Trueman

Chapter 3

The Road to Hull is where Terry Stuart is unexpected met. It turns out he’s an ex-con. There’s forgery in the club and it’s quite funny how unobservant to Trueman, Riley is being, you’ll need to listen in to find out why. Robert Daws and Duncan Preston just seem to play off each other very well, creating a very fine performance.
From crime to bus driving and secrets of missing people, this is an intriguing tale as the past catches up on Terry and his brother Frank and Annabelle is found dead.
You should listen to see if Terry can part from Frank.

Trueman

Chapter 4

Sabotage of a Philip Larkin biopic is on the cards in this episode. Film equipment has gone missing as has the bacon… The comdic timing is impeccable! The good news is Mark Wagstaff is dead and the bad news is, Riley really wanted to actually catch him for his crimes, instead of having to investigate his death. The nonchalency of Trueman is good.
Lines of Philip Larkin are weaved through as Trueman quotes them, not that they interest Riley. Although, the way Robert Daws quotes them, could well grab the attention of anyone.
There’s a bit more of Trueman’s personal life, which is really worth knowing, such as a date, that’s rather amusing, instant and rather lovely.
There’s quite a twist at the end.

Trueman

Chapter 5

Trueman and Riley investigate a disappearance of a man during a move with his wfe and Riley and Trueman are a bit exasperated by each other. Must say, the balance between that and the professionalism of the job and friendliness are played very well by Robert Daws and Duncan Preston.
The fun duo travel to Sheffield after uncovering an email between Nick and Eileen and secrets come spilling out…

About the Writer

Brian B. Thompson

Brian has been involved in writing Coronation Street, The Bill, Quayside and won a BAFTA for Byker Grove. I must add, it was a well-deserved award and had us kids hooked each week on it.

About the Actors

Robert Daws

Robert trained at RADA. He is an actor on stage, screen and radio. He is also an author.
His many television credits include: Dr Gordon Ormerod in eight series of The Royal, Sam Mountjoy in three series of John Sullivan’s Roger Roger and Tuppy Glossop in four series of Jeeves and Wooster. Also, Roger Dervish in the award- winning Outside Edge. (Nominated Best Actor-British Comedy Awards). He has also appeared in Father Brown, Death in Paradise, Midsomer Murders, New Tricks, Doc Martin, Casualty, The Bill, Lovejoy, A Bit of Fry and Laurie and many more… He has also appeared in films – An Unkind Word and Swimming With Men to name but a few…

Theatre work includes Most recently Alan Ayckboun’s Ten Times Table, Michael Frayn’s  Alarms and Excursions and Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s hit comedy, How The Other Half Loves. Other plays include Sherlock Holmes, Yes Prime Minister, Diary Of A Nobody at the Theatre Royal, Blackbird  for which Robert was nominated for Best Actor in the Manchester Evening News Drama Awards. He has also appeared in Summoned by Betjeman.

A regular contributor on radio as actor and broadcaster, Robert has read biographies of both P.G Wodehouse and John Betjeman for Radio 4 and co-created the long running radio series, with writer Brian B Thompson, Trueman and Riley, in which he plays D.I Trueman. He also played Prof. David Poll in the comedy series Higher by Joyce Bryant and Arthur Lowe in Roy Smiles, Dear Arthur, Love John. Also, Goodnight From Him, in which he plays Ronnnie Barker in the story of the Two Ronnies, Incredible Women by Rebecca Front and Jeremy Front and others… He has also happily recorded audios for Dr Who and Torchwood for Big Finish.

Books – His first crime novella, The Rock, was published in 2012 and made the top of the Amazon Bestseller list five times. 

His second Sullivan and Broderick murder mystery, The Poisoned Rock, was published in Sept 2016. His third in the series, Killing Rock, His ghost story, Tunnel Vision – also set in Gibraltar, is Amazon No 1 bestseller.

The books are now being republished by a different publisher, which is exciting. I have also been informed by the publisher there is a new book on the way too. Please do look out for publicity on all of the books. They are great reads and I’ll also be involved in reviews for them, so please do also look out for those.

Duncan Preston 

He has had many appearances in television productions written by Victoria Wood including his roles of Clifford in the soap opera parody sketches Acorn Antiques, including Acorn Antiques the musical. He also appeared as Stan in the sitcom Dinner Ladies.His other television roles include appearing in EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. He played Jonathan Haslam in the sitcom Surgical Spirit. He has also appeared in The Royal, The New Statesman, Press Gang, Midsomer Murders, Dalziel and Pascoe, My Family and more.

In theatre, he has appeared in many Shakespearean productions, including MacBeth and has also been in other plays such as – To Kill a Mockingbird.

He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Bradford for his contributions as an actor.

 

#Review of Journeys in the Wild – The Secret Life of A Cameraman by Gavin Thurston – Take a look at the amazing adventures in the natural world of this award winning cameraman. Rated 5 stars @GavinThurston @SeveDialsBooks @OrionBooks @gigicroft #JourneysInTheWild #NonFiction #Nature

Journeys in the Wild
The Secret Life of a Cameraman
By Gavin Thurston
Rated: 5 stars *****

 

What a wonderfully observed, written book, full of first hand experience I have reviewed by the award-winning and dare I say, now, multi-talented Gavin Thurston. I am so pleased to have picked it up and read it. There’s adventure, trepidation, humour and such warmth within this non-fiction, diarised book. I must say I was impressed by the calibre of writing and the ability to hold my attention beginning to end. It could have been dry, but this book certainly isn’t that. It was fairly unputdownable, as I suspected it would be, so had to wait until I had a sizeable amount of time to devote to the book I have enjoyed so much. I have the blurb and my review as well as links to Gavin Thurston’s website to share with you all today. The book is available to buy now in hardback, E-book and Audiobook and available in paperback 28th May and can be pre-ordered. See links for options below the blurb and review.

Journey in wild cover

Blurb

From award-winning Blue Planet 11 and Planet Earth 11 cameraman Gavin Thurston comes extraordinary true stories of what it takes to film our planet’s most captivating creatures.

Against the backdrop of civil wars, coups, plane crashes and kidnap attempts, Gavin has lurked in the shadows of some of the world’s remotest places in order to capture footage of the animal kingdom’s finest: prides of lions; silverback gorillas; capuchin monkeys; penguins; mosquitoes – you name it, he’s filmed it.

From journeys to the deepest depths of the Antarctic Ocean to the peaks of the Himalayas and the wild forests of the Congo, Gavin invites you to come inside the cameraman’s secret world. Discover the hours spent patiently waiting for the protagonists to appear, the inevitable dangers hiding in the wings and the heart-warming, life affirming moments the cameras miss as well as capture.

There is also high praise from Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley and David Attenborough.

Review

Gavin Thurston – talented with a camera to get footage onto screens and talented with a pen and computer at putting brilliant observations down on the page and with a bit of humour within the adventures and the encountered dangers.

I bought this book with a book token I was gifted by a friend. I had been eyeing it up for long enough. Gavin Thurston is an incredibly talented cameraman and it turns out, writer too. There’s also an incredible forward by David Attenborough, who explains why we are now seeing cameramen on our tv screens, and it isn’t due to any obvious reasoning. He also has a lot of good things to say about Gavin Thurston and upon reading his book, I can see why. This is an absolute Must Read book in my opinion. From the minute I picked up the book I was hooked in. The writing for the way each part of his life is told is absolutely brilliant. This man can write and does so in a way that grabs attention. Time when reading this book flies by and is barely noticed. It is even better than what I thought it would be.

The book begins way back in 1972. Gavin Thurston then takes us to the 1980’s, 1990’s and all the way to 2017, in what is ultimately, a fascinating account/diary into his working life to date. The hardback version was published in 2019 and the paperback is due in 2020.

I could tell from the first few pages I was going to really like this book, well, in fact I love it very much. Gavin Thurston’s life as a cameraman is amazing with all the brilliant people and animals he has met, but this is such a down to earth book. It has imagery and humour in the writing. He has really encapsulated a world, that I guess, if you didn’t work within that field or didn’t watch the now documented bits at the end of wildlife programmes that are becoming more prevalent, this is part of a world you wouldn’t normally see and certainly at the times that are written about, on the whole, you wouldn’t know what went on behind the scenes.

In Corfu, Gavin was part of the team filming the animals for the 1980’s adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s book – My Family and Other Animals.

He travelled to the Soviet – the USSR as was in the 1990. There are great anecdotes about the flight and even what he had to go through beforehand with the BBC. There’s trepidation to be found in capturing a camera shot of chicks and even more danger when driving onwards to Afghanistan and there’s some stomach-churning alcohol distilling.

1997 finds him filming sequences for David Attenborough’s Life of Birds in the Galapagos Islands. There are more than beautiful birds to watch out for, there’s also an issue of Gavin’s good friend Nigel’s tooth to fix by themselves on the remote islands. There are brilliant snapshots of things that went on behind the scenes that, if it weren’t for them being documented in this book, most people certainly wouldn’t know about because this is also a book that takes readers beyond the filming too.

In Kenya in 1988 there are beautifully written observations on elephants and then the high drama of killer bees and then off to Panama at the time of the Lockerbie bombing. This book certainly shows that being a wildlife cameraman, may be an amazing job, but not one for the faint-hearted as it seems it can be fraught with all sorts of dangers. There are however very cool insights into David Attenborough here and there too, during and after the cameras stop rolling. There is a lovely warmth that seems to exist within camera crews, which is very nicely depicted.

The 1990’s explores China, Italy and the USA, filming cute pandas and more…

2001 in the Congo, there’s deadly fungus that may well make your skin crawl and chimps that need saving. The writing is vivid and adept.

There are glimpses of back home in Bristol to tell how last-minute jobs came in, like going to Antarctica to film penguins.

In Hawaii in 1997 Violent Planet was being filmed and this time it is bubbling molten lava being filmed. The writing is vivid and captures the atmosphere.

The book, apart from showing nature and the ups and the challenges of being in the wild, takes you to places where you don’t necessarily always think about too much, if at all, such as the balancing homelife and being away for weeks, months even, on end. It also bravely gives insight to some of the precarious nature of being a cameraman too.

There’s insights into elephants for a BBC programme that seem so beautiful and amazing, and yet, filmed in a place of danger, not from the elephants, but a human kidnapper… Life gets dangerous again when filming for The Private Life of Plants and even more so again when filming wildlife during a civil war. It is all captured so well in the writing, in such a way that makes you want to read on to see what both is lived through and captured on camera.

Gavin Thurston also writes great observations about tribes and large logging companies and some of the consequences.

The book concludes almost how it began, which is really lovely and beautifully written, as is, indeed throughout the whole of this book. I am glad I picked it up and read it and I hope many other people will too. By the end, whatever respect you have for wildlife cameramen/people will surely be heightened further.

Below are links to Gavin Thurston’s website and how you can purchase this fine book. I will add I loved the book and I hope others do too, I don’t get any money from sales or indeed at all.

www.gavinthurston.com

Click Here for Purchasing Options