Man Versus Beast
 
by Andy Bird
 

Eh? news reaches us from ITV towers that pressure is on Simon Shaps, Granada chief Exec, from the chattering classes and various animal rights groups for the dubious charge of dumbing down TV' having already axed Celebrity Wrestling and the excellent Fat Families from the Saturday night schedule, apparently he's getting the bite on him to get shot of Celebrity Love Island and GOD FORBID Man Vs Beast.

Swine hopes he survives gets the chance to carry on his sterling work as we believe that TV far from being dumbed down, is nowhere nearly Dumb Enough, Shaps purchase of Man Vs Beast from Rupert Murdoch's Fox for ITV2 as an example is nothing but a masterstroke of TV scheduling, this programme is genuinely groundbreaking, where else have you seen a bear take on a Japanese teenager at sausage eating? A giraffe race an Olympic athlete (giraffe obliterated by 30 metres), an Orangutan take on a Sumo Wrestler, a chimp race a Navy Commando? And the genius that is 44 midgets vs. an Indian Elephant? Or would you rather listen to Tony Parsons, Greer et al wang on about the latest Gabriel García Márquez pile of self indulgent miserable toss over on BBC?

The show starts with a Kodiak Alaskan Bear (representing America) totally destroying the Japanese 2 time world champion eating champion, the bear refused to give an interview after and slouched off triumphantly, bit like a gnarled Brian Blessed, but with more hair.
What's wrong with that? How many times did you read articles about starving dancing bears in Torremolinos?

These people can't have it both ways.......as Shaps put it himself in a letter, sent to Born Free (animal rights group) on the 3rd July 2005; he stated that the programme-makers had consulted animal regulatory bodies vets'. He added that advice had been sought from independent bodies and that the 'animals are only doing things that they would naturally be pre-disposed to do". He went onto say that "none of the stunts are seeking to 'humanise' the animals." Too right Simon, I never saw the bear use his hands once.

Ditto with the Orangutan pulling a sumo wrestler into a ditch full of mud at tug of war, if someone had asked me who would win a tug of war between a big monkey and a fat bloke last week, I wouldn't have had a clue to be honest, but not now, thank-you yet again, ITV.
And as for the 44 midgets pulling an American Airlines DC10 in a race vs. an elephant, who's the winner and losers here? The Elephant won by about a length. Lets face it, you don't see dwarves on telly nowadays apart from Dennis Wise now and again or Willy Wonka at Christmas, so even they are winners of sorts, another example of compassion towards minorities from ITV.