Series: Saving the Ocean

Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina
Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina

I know Carl Safina as the author of several wonderful books about the ocean – The View from Lazy Point being the most recent one. I was surprised to discover that he has also ventured into television presenting, and this PBS series (so far a one-off) is the result.

Saving the Ocean showcases, in half hour segments, communities and initiatives that are successfully making a positive difference to ocean environments. Safina visits Baja in Mexico (grey whales are thriving there), Washington State (rivers are being rehabilitated there, for wild salmon), and Trinidad (where leatherback turtles are being protected). An episode where the leaders of the Muslim community on a Tanzanian island are taking the lead in advocating for environmental protection was particularly moving. Tony and I both found it immensely encouraging, and relieving, to see places where a balance is being struck between human requirements – for fish, protein, survival – and the need to take care of the sea.

A few times I felt that an excessive amount of enthusiasm was being displayed for a recovery that isn’t that spectacular – particularly in the episodes on New England cod. After hours of fishing, two or three tiny fish are caught. This in an area where you could lower a bucket and raise it up full of fish a couple of hundred years ago. The cod are still gone – no matter how much you smile about it.

Safina is an enthusiastic fisherman, and devotes two episodes to an artisanal sword fishery on Georges Bank. The fishermen harpoon the swordfish, collecting no bycatch. While I understand that this is a good way in which to target the species, I wasn’t convinced that there were enough swordfish to justify catching them at all, and I think the thrill of the hunt got in the way of telling the real story here.

The final episode in the series is about lionfish, and describes some of the innovative ways that the dive industry in the Atlantic is helping to control numbers of this native Pacific interloper.

Safina is an engaging host, refreshingly natural, like a slightly rumpled professor of an outdoorsy subject. The production values in this series aren’t fantastic, but this is made up for by the sheer good news of the stories told in each episode.

You can get the DVDs here if you’re in South Africa, otherwise here or here. Read a bit more about the show here, if you’re not convinced.

Series: Whale Wars, Season 4

Whale Wars, Season 4
Whale Wars, Season 4

Whale Wars is definitely winter viewing, even though the Antarctic whaling season takes place in the southern hemisphere summer. The weather is often quite intense, with large storms rolling through the southern ocean, and when we can’t get out in winter it makes for wonderful imaginary travel through spectacular landscapes.

After the sinking of the fast, carbon fibre racing boat Ady Gil in Season 3, Sea Shepherd obtains the Gojira, a larger and faster vessel that they used to search for the whaling fleet. The Gojira is incapable of travelling through ice fields, which limited its usefulness in the very southernmost reaches of the whaling grounds.

The helicopter and small boats are used extensively in this season. For those who have watched Season 3 already, or plan to watch it, Tony would like to point out that a rubber duck’s pontoon can be temporarily secured to its proper place with a rope slung under the hull and tied together over the top. This may even make it possible to get underway. As usual, a small amount of training in seamanship and how to handle ropes on a moving boat would have gone a long way to prevent some of the mishaps that occur.

This is a short season of only ten episodes, as the Japanese stopped whaling early, citing excessive pressure and increased danger from Sea Shepherd’s harrassment. I found this strange as the nine episodes preceding the halt did not entail much pressure on the Japanese at all. The Sea Shepherds only located the whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru right at the end of their time in the Antarctic, and although they were occasionally tailed by one of the harpoon ships, one or two other harpoon ships were free to continue whaling despite their presence. To my eyes this was one of the least effective campaigns ever, and yet somehow it culminated in the worst whaling year that the Japanese had experienced to date. Whatever works, as one of my former colleagues used to say (usually before doing something statistically questionable).

You can get the DVD here if you’re in South Africa, otherwise here or here.

Series: Whale Wars, Season 3

Whale Wars, Season 3
Whale Wars, Season 3

It was interesting to watch this series, which was filmed in 2010, in the light of the March 2014 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Japan’s so-called scientific whaling program (which entails killing 900 whales per year) is a thinly disguised commercial whaling venture and ordered the Japanese to stop. Southern Fried Science has demystified the ruling for us. This would remove the need for Sea Shepherd to send ships down to the Southern Ocean (so, no more Whale Wars).

(For a depressing reality-check on just how seriously the Japanese plan to take the ruling, however, check out this news item. I think we might have a few more years of Whale Wars ahead of us.)

The Sea Shepherds have three vessels at their disposal in this season of the show (we have seen Season 1 and Season 2). Their original ship, the Steve Irwin, is still running, but the fleet is strengthened by the addition of the Bob Barker (donated by the comedian of that name) and the Ady Gil, a carbon and kevlar fibre racing trimaran that was built to set speed records. We enjoyed seeing two additional captains at work, with quite different management styles to Paul Watson, who repeatedly proves that one doesn’t need to be a nice guy or a people pleaser to get results.

The additional ships enable Sea Shepherd to manoeuvre against the Japanese with more sophistication than in previous years, and the Ady Gil in particular is used to distract the Japanese vessels with close-quarters engagements. The vulnerable Ady Gil is eventually sliced in half by one of the Japanese ships, and her crew are rescued by the Bob Barker. This incident signals an escalation of the conflict between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese.

True to form, the safety awareness and basic seamanship skills of many of the Sea Shepherd crew are shown to be wanting. For example, we found the delay between the ramming of the Ady Gil and the order to launch the small boats to rescue her crew unconscionable, and one wonders if just a day or two of basic training before setting out wouldn’t markedly improve the safety record and success rate of the expeditions.

The season concludes with an audacious attempt by the Ady Gil‘s captain, Pete Bethune (a marvelously entertaining and enterprising addition to the Sea Shepherd crew), to board the Japanese ship that sunk his vessel. The story of his subsequent detention in Japan is weird – read more here.

One doesn’t see many whales – dead or alive – in this season of Whale Wars. It either means that Sea Shepherd didn’t get near enough to the action (but they did – they locate the factory processing vessel Nisshin Maru) or that they successfully prevented the Japanese from fishing in a meaningful way (this is more likely). The Antarctic scenery is magnificent, as usual. If you’ve enjoyed prior seasons of Whale Wars, I’d recommend you take a look at this one. It’s more fast paced and varied than the first two seasons, and well worth the time.

Series: Deadliest Catch, Season 8

Deadliest Catch, Season 8
Deadliest Catch, Season 8

It’s been a while since we’ve watched any Deadliest Catch, but I needed to feel good about my job again, so a dose of this Discovery Channel favourite was required.

There are a couple of younger captains this season; we were interested to see how much they talked up their abilities, and how often they took ridiculous risks that endangered their crew. One of them in particular brought his train wreck of a personal life on board at the start of the season, which culminated in a restraining order from his ex girlfriend and almost no pay for his crew.

We also found the family dynamics interesting. There are many fathers and sons, and pairs of brothers, working in the fleet, and family feeling is strong. Some of the relationships are deeply unpleasant. The captain of the Kodiak, who demonstrates repeatedly what a mean, vindictive person he is, repeatedly belittles his son after losing patience with him when he doesn’t learn fast enough. By contrast, the supportive learning environment provided on board the Northwestern enables some of the young crew to grow and learn. Edgar, one of our favourite people in the show, gets an opportunity to spend some time in the wheelhouse when his brother Sig (who is an awe-inspiringly consistent fisherman) lets him take a turn at driving the boat.

One of the boats featured in the series had a crew member medevaced as a result of a panic attack (the official line was “seizure disorder”, but he was clearly having a panic). This hasn’t happened before – there is always a feature with the US Coastguard, but it has always involved other boats up to this point. The calm of the helicopter pilots and rescue swimmers is very impressive.

The latter part of this season had a soap opera feel to it. An ice-induced hiatus in the opilio crab season led to many of the captains taking a break from fishing, to wait for the ice to clear from the crab grounds. The film crew follows the captains and crew home, and – in some cases – deep into their personal problems during this period. Tony and I were relieved when they got back to fishing, although it was nice to see the beautiful homes, mostly in Washington State, that the big bucks earned crab fishing can buy.

Did this help me feel better about my job? Yes it did: sitting at my desk in a winter sunbeam isn’t too bad, or too difficult. The chances of losing the end of one of my fingers or being struck on my head by a chunk of ice are slim. Small mercies.

Series: Trawlermen, Series 1

Trawlermen Series 1
Trawlermen Series 1

Trawlermen is the British version of Deadliest Catch and the related spinoff series (Tuna Wranglers and Lobster Wars among them). The series (five episodes in this season) charts the activities of several fishing trawlers working in the North Sea out of Peterhead in Scotland. Having watched a lot of Deadliest Catch, we were well equipped to marvel at the restrained, unsensational voice-over narrative. The structure of the show is far more episodic, and each episode’s subject or arc is revealed early on.

The trawlers fish mostly for prawn, dragging huge nets along the sea floor. The bycatch from prawn trawling is significant, but I confess that I didn’t find it as horrific as I’d imagined it would be. Many of the fish are gutted and boxed for market, so not a lot of it seemed to go to waste. I do suspect that the full extent of the bycatch wasn’t shown. Trawling is incredibly, unbelievably destructive – for a scientific view on that, this article is a good start.

The trawlers also catch Greenland halibut, cod, squid, and a few other kinds of fish. They however are limited by EU regulations to a fish catch (technically bycatch) amounting to no more than 65% of their total catch, because they are prawn trawlers. Excess fish must be thrown overboard, whether it’s dead or alive. One of the boats pulls up a number of huge boulders, as well as a torpedo while fishing in Norwegian waters, which the crew swiftly decide is not live (it was full of sea water). They position the torpedo on deck, pointing away from the superstructure of the boat, just in case it goes off!

The boats are high-sided with deep holds in which there is a conveyor belt for sorting the catch. The smaller fish are gutted using a machine, while the larger ones are done by hand. Everything is flash-frozen in boxes, ready for market. The work on deck is dangerous as there are many moving parts, massive nets, and ropes all over the place. The crew are mostly quite reserved (with one or two camera-loving exceptions!) and speak in broad Scottish accents which – the producers of the series deem – occasionally require subtitles.

This isn’t a glamorous or easy job, and the conditions in the North Sea are rough and very cold. I didn’t find this at all to be a rehash of things I’ve seen in other fishing shows; it was fascinating to see how a trawler works, having seen crab fishing, lobster fishing, and tuna fishing. If the voice of Armageddon style presentation of most Discovery Channel productions annoys you, try this very civilised BBC production.

The DVD box set is available here or here.

Series: Underwater Universe

Underwater Universe
Underwater Universe

The four episodes of this History Channel series cover waves, tides and currents, predators, and pressure – all powerful features of the ocean that can be sensationalised (some more easily than others) and presented for shock value and as imminent threats to human life. Full advantage is taken of this fact.

This very American offering doesn’t boast the measured, mellifluous tones of Benedict Cumberbatch or Steve Toussaint as narrator, but the line-up of (mostly in-studio) guest narrators is quite impressive. Bruce Parker (The Power of the Sea), Susan Casey (The Devil’s Teeth and The Wave), David Gallo (scientist presenter of the TED Talk I mentioned here), Scott Cassell (student of the Humboldt squid), Richard Ellis (writer of a number of ocean history, art and science books), and Neil Hammerschlag (shark scientist) were familiar to me, as was big wave surfer Ken Bradshaw, from this article. The strange, uncomfortable way in which the studio narrators were filmed, with silent close ups interspersed with talking, was very annoying and must have been incredibly embarrassing to shoot. Or perhaps the cameraman took the footage when the narrators didn’t realise they were being filmed.

Unlike BBC documentaries, which tend to rely purely on incredible photography and fluent narrative to convey information, the History Channel favours a CGI-heavy approach that we encountered in Treasure Quest, Deep Sea Salvage, and also in the National Geographic Shark Men series. For the subject matter of this series – particularly the sections on waves, tides and currents – it was very appropriate and informative. The first episode, devoted to tsunamis, rogue waves and “monster waves”, made good use of CGI to illustrate the concepts as they were explained. The series was produced shortly before the Japanese tsunami of 2011 (there is a hastily tacked on “thoughts and prayers” disclaimer) and features interviews with a survivor of a tsunami in Samoa. I am fascinated by rogue waves – the whole episode could have been devoted to them but they don’t make for good television – we only have indirect evidence of their existence. Also, I could have done with more footage of giant ships battling storms, but that’s what youtube is for…

The least interesting and most irritating episode was the one devoted to the ocean’s top predators, which suggested that orcas are a serious threat to humans. As evidence, the cases of captive killer whales drowning and injuring their trainers at marine theme parks were cited. No mention was made of the psychosis that these whales suffer from as a result of confinement in a small, barren, completely unnatural environment. An incident in which orcas inexplicably rammed and sank a yacht in the Pacific Ocean is also described and re-enacted. Whether the orcas did what they did because they wanted to kill the people on board is highly debatable. There is also a half-hearted attempt to paint whales as potentially vicious killers, recounting incidents when sperm whales rammed whaling boats in the 19th century. More power to the sperm whales, I say.

The other dangerous predators were (predictably) white sharks, Humboldt squid, saltwater crocodiles and Australian box jellyfish. There was a small environmental message at the end of this episode, mentioning that squid will probably end up the top predators in our oceans if current trends – fishing out large predatory fish and global warming in particular – continue.

The third episode, on the immense pressures that objects in the deep ocean are subjected to, was very interesting to Tony and me as divers. A confusing interview with a diver whose brother got DCS on a wreck dive leaves (I suspect) much out. Were they even qualified divers? Why was he surprised that his brother felt unwell and confused as to the cause after he popped to the surface from 30 metres after a 30 minute dive?

The bulk of the third episode, however, recounts a 1981 experiment called Atlantis III in which three volunteers were taken in a saturation system to a simulated depth of 686 metres while breathing Trimix 10 (70% helium, 20% nitrogen and 10% oxygen). It took 31 days for them to decompress. The chief of the experiment, Peter Bennett, was the founder and former CEO of DAN. There’s a more information about the project here – worth a read (download the pdf slowly), and a briefer account here.

The series concludes with an episode on tides and currents, including rip currents. The massive tidal range of Morecambe Bay in the United Kingdom,  is discussed at length. At low tide, up to 300 square kilometres of mudflats is exposed, and flooded again when the tide comes in. The guides who escort people out onto the mudflats when the tide is out seem like charming individuals – it is recommended not to wander around at low tide without local guidance. In 2004, the rising tide trapped and drowned 23 Chinese immigrants who were working the cockle beds – with such a large expanse of land to cover, the rising tide comes in at great speed. There is also a harrowing re-enactment of a father and his two sons getting washed out to sea in a rip current in Kauai that should make you think twice about swimming at beaches with warning signs on them.

You can get the DVDs here if you’re in South Africa. Foreigners, go here or here.

Series: Deadliest Catch – Lobster Wars

Lobster Wars
Lobster Wars

Lobster Wars is a Discovery Channel production, produced by the same team who brought us Deadliest Catch (seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) and its Tuna Wranglers spin-off. It tracks fishermen (and a woman) on board the American lobster boats that set out to fish Georges Bank from the beautiful New England harbours (and expensive holiday destinations) in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

This is a slightly tamer version of Deadliest Catch. The fishermen work long, hard hours on occasion, but the labour is not as backbreaking as it is on board a crab boat. They are at sea for a week at a time, and the lobster traps are lighter and smaller than the crab pots seen on Deadliest Catch. The boats are small, and the fishery is a low volume, high value one – two or three lobsters in a trap is worth getting excited about.

Lobstering can be extremely lucrative, particularly during the winter season shown in the episodes of this series. Fierce competition on the fishing grounds and heavy fishing pressure on a valuable resource (which can sometimes be in oversupply) makes for a turbulent working environment – never mind the weather. While not quite as stormy as the Bering Sea, Georges Bank can throw up some extreme weather events of its own.

The fishing grounds on Georges Bank are “controlled” by different boat captains, who have time-tested locations that they return to year after year. We found this puzzling – that one could exert control at a distance over a piece of sea floor with relatively few conflicts. Or perhaps not so few – this article explains the phenomenon quite well. One source of conflict that recurred repeatedly in this series was between the lobster boats and trawlers, called “draggers” by the lobstermen. The trawlers shown working Georges Bank had outriggers, and if a string of lobster traps gets caught in their gear, the traps can be dragged for miles, and left in a tangled heap far from their original location.

The antics of the crewmen are mildly entertaining, but we struggled to differentiate them because of an apparently universal fondness for pulled-up hoodies among lobstermen. One female crew member is featured, working on board a boat called the Timothy Michael, and acquitting herself marvellously. A new crewman exclaims in disbelief that there’s a woman on board, commenting that he’s been on a boat where there’s been a dog on board, but never a woman. I was impressed by his liberal attitude, and am sure he’s in a supportive, mature relationship with an incredible human being who values his unique strengths and abilities.

This isn’t Deadliest Catch or Tuna Wranglers, but it is entertaining enough. The scenery, of New England and the seascapes, is lovely, and learning about a new fishery is always interesting. There are the usual lyrical waxings about how the “fishery is dying”, but the problem isn’t examined further, and no one dares to suggest that perhaps we’ve already eaten most of the fish in the sea, and if we carry on at this pace, we’ll eat it all.

You can get the DVD on

Series: Shark Men, Season 2

Shark Men, season 2
Shark Men, season 2


Season 2 of Shark Men is more of the same as Season 1 – shouting, HOO-HAAing, chest slapping, and manly bleating. It’s not all complete, unmitigated suffering for the patient viewer, however. There is less focus on the manly art of extreme angling than there is in Season 1, which was a welcome relief.

The first two episodes are filmed at the Farallon Islands, a location off California that swarms with white sharks, and with which Tony and I are familiar from reading The Devil’s Teeth (recommended, with reservations). The team has a permit to capture and tag white sharks there, the first time anyone has been allowed to do this kind of work at the Farallons. Not everything goes according to plan, and the team’s research permit is suspended.

Attempting to tease out the entire life cycle of the southern Pacific white shark population, the Ocearch vessel drops anchor off Malibu in southern California. There they fish for juvenile white sharks, in view of the busy beaches. Surfers and swimmers are largely unaware that they are sharing the water with a white shark nursery. The researchers also return to Guadalupe Island off Mexico, and capture and tag more sharks there.

The final few episodes of this season are the most fascinating – a trip is made to the Sea of Cortez, a squid-rich ecosystem teeming with terrifying Humboldt squid, pods of sperm whales, and other cetaceans. There is a long history of white sharks of various sizes being caught in the area, which makes the researchers suspect that it is a pupping area. It is, however, a popular long lining location, which puts the white sharks in danger of being caught by fishermen.

This season of the show was dogged by controversy. The Farallon Islands permit revocation was of serious concern, and repercussions were felt long after filming completed. A shark known as Junior (or Lucky) was badly hooked and spent a long time out of the water on the Farallon Islands trip while the team attempted to remove the hook from deep in his throat. The shark was later filmed with a terrible injury to the side of his face. The Ocearch team were subsequently exonerated from any blame for the wounds, as Junior’s injuries were from another shark (and sharks bite each other frequently and indiscriminately).

There’s an interview with Chris Fischer and Brett McBride about this season of the show, here. Episode guide here. Get the series here, otherwise try here or here. You may have trouble getting them shipped to South Africa.

Series: Shark Men, Season 1

Shark Men, season 1
Shark Men, season 1

After the controversy, drama, self examination, and ultimately very interesting research that came out of the Ocearch expedition to South Africa early in 2012, we had to watch the television show that made Chris Fischer (amongst others) famous for working with white sharks.

Enter Shark Men, a National Geographic series featuring television personality Chris Fischer (who had something to do with getting the funding, or the boat, or both – try to disentangle it here if you’re so inclined) and Dr Michael Domeier, a respected white shark researcher. The researchers fish for white sharks off Guadalupe Island in Mexico, and then lift them out of the water in a specially modified cradle attached to the Ocearch boat. Water is pushed across the shark’s gills while they’re out of the ocean. The team measure and tag the sharks, and take samples for genetic testing. The sharks are released after 15-20 minutes out of the water.

The Ocearch boat also makes a trip to the Shared Offshore Foraging Area, or SOFA, where white sharks are believed to feed. A (giant) squid-rich ecosystem inhabited by sperm whales is found, and Domeier theorises that the sharks subsist on squid while they’re here. I found the two episodes covering the SOFA trip to be fascinating. There’s nothing special demarcating this piece of ocean – just the patterns made by the migrating white sharks, which show evidence that the sharks move between Guadalupe and the SOFA. Domeier believes that their time at Guadalupe is for breeding, and aims to take sperm samples from mature males to verify this theory.

The science is very interesting. During the course of the filming a couple of improvements in the handling of the sharks is made, of which I approved. There is magnificent footage of huge white sharks in crystal clear water. Unfortunately there is also a lot of testosterone-fuelled shouting, posturing, and remarkably inane commentary from a variety of sources. By the end of the series we wanted to watch with the sound off, it was that bad. The only person who comes off well at the end of it all is the captain of the Ocearch vessel and chief angler, Brett McBride, and it seems to be largely because he shuns the limelight and doesn’t say much.

I hate sport fishing. I think it’s pathetic that humans need to prove their mastery of the natural world by shooting or fishing the earth’s most amazingly put together predators. This show is mostly about fishing, and so I found it mostly repugnant. I understand that good television wouldn’t be the expected result from a quiet, respectful treatment of the shark while it’s being brought to the cradle – which leads me to question whether I think that something like this should be televised at all.

If you want the DVDs, get them here. They’ll only ship to the US, so make a plan (mine involved a friend, and a plane). Episode list here.

Series: Shoreline


In the grand tradition of putting the cart before the horse (or similar), I read the coffee table book accompanying the locally-produced television series Shoreline before watching the series. The book gave me serious wanderlust, and the series did the same. Four presenters (a marine biologist, an archaeologist, a historian and a main anchor) travel the 2,700 kilometres of South Africa’s magnificent coastline, exploring the events that shape both the coast and human history.

My favourite was the helicopter footage – in truth, if the series had just been a continuous helicopter shot of the entire coast, with pauses for loo breaks, I’d have watched it. There were some surprisingly moving stories related to the war – the loss of the troop ship SS Mendi, carrying over 800 troops of the South African Native Labour Corps to France, struck me in particular. Most of the troops were rural Pondo people. The vessel was struck by another ship in the English Channel, and began sinking immediately. The men, gathered on the deck of the ship, were exhorted by their chaplain to meet death with dignity:

Be quiet and calm, my countrymen. What is happening now is what you came to do… You are going to die, but that is what you came to do. Brothers, we are drilling the death drill. I, a Xhosa, say you are my brothers… Swazis, Pondos, Basotho… So let us die like brothers. We are the sons of Africa. Raise your war-cries, brothers, for though they made us leave our assegaais in the kraal, our voices are left with our bodies.

They apparently danced and sang as the ship disappeared beneath the waves. There is a memorial to the men in Port Elizabeth. I found so much grace to be exhibited here, by soldiers who were fighting a war to defend a country that had very little time for them, and placed them at an economic and social disadvantage.

I was also all stirred up by an interview with two elderly ladies who were members of the South African Women’s Auxiliary Naval Service (SWANS). Almost 300 women served as harbour defence staff (monitoring defence systems) and administrators during the latter years of World War II. This opened up a whole world of possibilities to the women of that era, whose career options were as limited as one can imagine in 1940. It must have been very empowering to these women to be able to participate and perform vital wartime functions in the service of their country.

One of the harbours where they served was Saldanha Bay, where a system of mines defended the bay from invasion by enemy submarines. On 1 June 1944 one of the SWANS on duty detonated two rows of mines after spotting a suspected enemy submarine on her screen. This story, as well as the revelation that during World War II there were Catalina flying boats (totally awesome planes that could float) stationed at Lake St Lucia in northern KwaZulu Natal, which flew patrols to Madagascar and back, looking for German submarines, surprised me. South Africa seems so far from the European source of the war, but there were German U-boats all the way down here and a serious war effort taking place.

For the water babies, there’s some wonderful footage of a dive with coelocanths done by the chaps from ReefTeach in Sodwana Bay, and a shark dive on Aliwal Shoal. Sand sharks in Langebaan Lagoon, shysharks at Arniston, seahorses in Knysna, leatherback turtles nesting at Sodwana, and the larger cetacean inhabitants of our coast are featured in various episodes. Unfortunately the segment on the KwaZulu Natal shark nets was poorly done, with a propaganda speech that implied that the nets are a benign invention, with most of the sharks caught in the nets surviving to be released, and not many other creatures caught at all. There was however an excellent piece on the NSRI, which I hope alerted many South Africans to this national treasure and the need to support its efforts.

The script – written by the very brilliant Tom Eaton – makes full use of the strengths and knowledge that the presenters bring to the series in their personal capacities, and there are very inspiring and pride-inducing moments that made me very pleased to be South African, and living here. I can highly recommend this series. The production values are surprisingly high given that it’s an SABC production (no offence intended). We sent it as a gift to Tony’s son in Denmark and I hope it helps him to understand some of what we love about this country.

The official website for the series is here. You can get the series on DVD here. There’s also a companion hardcover book, that you can get here.