Tell that to Steve Irwin the self-styled Crocodile hunter. It’s just over four years ago that the over-confident wildlife expert was speared in the chest by a stingray barb, killing him. Irwin exhibited all the negative characteristics of your chummy Australian: porky, cocksure, idiotic gestures. He was colourless, humourless and ultimately reckless.
Just as Steve Wright in the Afternoon begat the transforming of DJ’s from spinners into all-round irritating personalities, Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, spawned many copycat followers. The wildlife expert was now an adventurer. Suddenly it wasn’t enough to show nature in the raw, there had to be interaction. Irwin would get up close and personal with his favoured reptile inviting them to have a bite. This was what the TV executives craved. Exciting, reality television with dangerous animals; peril sells.
Poor Irwin isn’t even top of the most famous list of baby-danglers. His self-seeking publicity stunt of precariously holding his one month old baby near the jaws of a crocodile backfired on him. His irresponsible action while landing him in trouble still wasn’t as controversial as Michael Jackson’s baby juggling over a balcony in Berlin.
Contrast Irwin’s in your face approach to the whispering, almost invisible, humble style of television programming of Sir David Frederick Attenborough. The respected British naturalist’s love for nature shines through in every broadcast. He is a neutral observer, never interfering and his knowledge is more informative than “Crikey! Look at the size of those teeth!”
Monitoring the activities of the species and the planet, in the great circle of life, Attenborough plays the part of Uatu, The Watcher. Irwin thought he was Galactus. In the end though, the world devoured Irwin.