Last Night’s TV – Lost Land of the Volcano

by Lynn Connolly


Last night’s show was the last of the episodes, which is truly sad. It’s been an awe inspiring programme in so many ways, not least of which is the fact that Mount Bosavi is an area so new to science – and to man – that the majority of its creatures are unafraid of humans, simply because they’ve never encountered them before.

This show has truly brought the enormous diversity and adaptability of nature to our screens; we’ve seen birds that use volcanic ash to incubate their eggs, we’ve seen – finally! – the new species of rat that’s enormous but cute, and a new species of Cuscus that could become the next big thing cuddly toywise.

Lost Land of the Volcano has offered many spectacular sights, not least of which have been the frequent shots of Steve Backshall in a state of semi-undress and/or wet, which to be honest, would’ve been worth tuning in for, without the 40 some new species discovered.

And among all the scientists, the passion for their work has been infectious; George’s utter joy and rapture as he sat on a white, backlit cloth witnessing the arrival of hundreds upon hundreds of moths – even though I can’t stand fluttering, panicky moths – made me grin from ear to ear.

steve backshall

Similarly, Gordon the cameraman’s joy at capturing on film the new species of Silky Cuscus emerging from his tree was totally absorbing – as was watching Steve holding and cuddling the Cuscus later – and Dr Kris Helgen’s Tom Cruise smile just made it magical viewing as the team stroked the utterly ‘tame’ Bosavi Woolly Rat.

gordon with bosavi woolly rat

These intrepid scientists and the tribe that welcomed them so readily are to be heartily thanked for putting their lives in danger to prove to the world that Mount Bosavi and its rainforest should be protected as one of the exceptionally few places left in the world where flora and fauna exist totally undisturbed by man and deforestation, and should remain that way.

george at mount bosavi

George camped perilously close to an active volcano to prove the existence of creatures who’ve evolved in that hostile landscape, Steve has climbed, swum and explored areas where anything and everything could’ve killed him and Gordon has sat in silence in the depths of hazardous forests, soaking wet and in the pitch black, to film creatures never before seen by man.

Everyone on the team has been exposed to all manner of ickyness too, including intestinal worms, fevers, bites, stings, leech attacks and encounters with spiders the size of my head, which would’ve caused me to simply die on the spot, but they’ve all bravely endured these woes and foes to bring us the best that this magical area had to offer.

Add to that the entire team of scientists, support staff, trackers and tribesmen who’ve helped all the way through, and you have a programme that was truly worthwhile in every sense of the word and which may, hopefully, convince the authorities in Papua New Guinea to protect this amazing place.

And on a personal note to Aunty Beeb, please don’t let this be the last we see of Steve Backshall! I’ve developed what can only be described as a huge crush on him and will be devastated if we don’t get to see him being all Action Man on our screens again very soon.

If you’ve missed any of the three episodes of Lost Land of the Volcano, you can catch them on iPlayer, and I’d highly recommend that you do. Programmes of this calibre are rare on our screens these days and I intend to watch them all over again this weekend!

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.