Last Night’s TV – Natural World: The Wild Places of Essex

by Lynn Connolly

We are of course used to Natural World being beautiful; in vista and in subject matter, it rarely fails to capture and portray stunning imagery, but if you add to it a subtle narration that’s as graceful and poetic as the wonders of nature that feature, you have the perfect film.

And thanks to writer, brainbox and somewhat hunky Robert MacFarlane, last night’s venture into Natural World had all those things, and how lovely it made it to watch.

I must admit, the title intimated a yawnfest of a trip around Essex, and while I mean no offence to Essex dwellers, it’s not the Amazon rainforest is it? But, after seeing the many wonders Essex has to offer, flora and fauna-wise, I had to take back my presumption.

We saw that nature, as it’s wont to do, has adapted to an urban landscape and the animals that find themselves inhabiting this corner of the world have made good use of what’s available to them.

Water voles found a home and a living near a dump while peregrine falcons soared majestically around the power station searching out their dinner. And on Rainham Marshes, ex-home of the MoD firing range, warblers, marsh frogs and watervoles have made a happy home.

In Epping Forest, deer roam along a carpet of bluebells and Essex is also home to gorgeous families of otters and even seals play and live in the area.

And MacFarlane waxed not just lyrical but downright hauntingly about the influx of birds to the area, saying that the birds arrive “with the Arctic trapped in their feathers.”

In short, this was a real treat to watch and if you missed it, you can catch it here on BBC’s iPlayer.

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.