The following is taken from:
26th October 2005
The Guardian

Donal MacIntyre's dangerous hunting expedition is about as daring as a stag party
Sam Wollaston
Wednesday May 30, 2007

MacIntyre: Edge of Existence
'They obviously know nothing about him because they welcome him with open arms'

We're in the village of Swagap, hundreds of miles up the Sepik river, deep in the heart of Papua New Guinea. This, one of the most remote places in the world, is where the Insect Tribe live, so-called because they worship the praying mantis. Here are a couple of young lads, lolling about in their dugout canoes, lazily fishing in the afternoon light, blissfully ignorant of the problems of the modern world. An older man carves something from wood, possibly a mantis. Behind, a younger man paddles deftly upstream, a warrior off to catch a crocodile for tea, most probably.

Hang about, though, he looks a bit different from most of the chaps round here - paler for a start, thicker-set, strangely familiar in a disturbing sort of way, a lot more like Donal MacIntyre.

Flipping heck, it is MacIntyre. What the hell is he doing in Swagap? MacIntyre: Edge of Existence (Five), that's what.

MacIntyre has single-handedly rid the western world of crime, striking terror into the hearts of conmen, scammers and car thieves through his fearless investigative journalism. Now, selflessly, he's doing the same for the good folk of Swagap. Unless he's just showing us how tough he is. Or it's the only place in the world where he doesn't get laughed out of town, because they've never heard of him, or seen his ludicrous exploits.

"Not so long ago, this tribe were cannibals and head-hunters," he whispers, approaching the village. "And still, today, violent disputes flare up in this part of the rainforest."

Oh please, tribespeople, return to the old habits, just for today. Remember how good it tasted? A bit like pork. Go on, eat MacIntyre. That would be fabulous television. Or at least shrink his head, it could certainly take it.

But they don't, unfortunately. They obviously know nothing about the man because they welcome him and his film crew into their community with open arms.

"I must prove myself by hunting crocodiles and pigs, with nothing but a spear to defend myself," says MacIntyre, ridiculously. "This is a truly hostile environment. This may be an adventure too far."

Oh shut up, you silly clown. You know what it reminds me of? A stag party. But a super-deluxe stag party, the ultimate macho experience, for the man who's done it all. Quadbiking? Done it. Paintballing? Blah. A weekend with the Insect Tribe of PNG? Hmmm, now you're talking.

So the first activity is pig-spearing. I imagine this is dangerous, eh Donal? "In the past, hunters have been killed and injured by the ferocious beasts they seek." Thought as much. And they won't just be your regular pigs you're after will they? "Four hundred pounds of pure muscle that charges through the forest impaling any victim that gets in his way." Pure muscle? No fat then? Are you sure about that? Anyway, you're a brave man, whatever the fat content.

They wait, while the younger men of the tribe try to drive the animals towards them. "As the drums get louder it's obvious we're going to see some action," whispers MacIntryre. "Suddenly it's all very real. Something is coming our way, and coming fast ..."

And then this tiny cute little thing comes scuttling out of the forest, clearly terrified. MacIntyre throws his spear, misses by miles, this little pig gets away, this silly man gets none. And that's the end of it.

Time for the next activity - collecting clay from the bottom of the river. Let's hope he's better at hunting clay than pigs. Isn't this girls' work, though? "These are about the most crocodile infested waters in the world," he reminds us, just in case we thought his life wasn't in danger for a minute.

But MacIntyre is not only about risking his own life. There's a softer, thoughtful side to him, he's an anthropologist as well as a hunter, and he wants to understand his hosts as well as prove himself to them. "My real struggle in this community has been getting to know how the women tick," he laments. See? I think understanding women is important to MacIntyre. And being understood by them.

Right, enough of that, bring on the next activity - crocodile chasing. "We're hunting a creature so fearsome that they can rip you to shreds in seconds," he says. "Make no mistake, this [pause for effect] is terrifying."

Oh do pipe down, you ridiculous man. And to the Insect Tribe, I'd like to apologise. We're not all like him, I promise.


Comment No. 534369
May 30 9:51

To call him the poor man's Bruce Parry is an insult to poor men everywhere.

Comment No. 534390
May 30 10:01

Terrible, embarrassing cack. What got me was when, following an incantation to their spirits for help in the hunt, he kept asking: 'Do you really believe in this magic? Do you really believe it will help?'. The guy covered head to toe in ceremonial garb replied: 'Yes. I believe.'

McIntyre you tit.

Comment No. 534422
May 30 10:20

Ha ha, quality. It always annoys me when the presenter of any programme seems to be more interested in promoting their own image than the subject of the film.

MacIntyre is a patronising plum.

Comment No. 534448
May 30 10:32

This was truly exorable... Affected, false, self-regarding, egotistical rubbish.
He travelled to the ends of the earth and spent the whole time rattling on about himself.
And the bit which suggested that by brewing their own alcohol from coconuts and bananas the tribe was falling prey to Western influence was truly bizarre. 'Bush beer' is prevalent throughout the entire Pacific, and fulfills the same role as kava used to.
It felt as though he had written the script well in advance - the disingenuous way in which he was "overcome" by the welcome made me feel ill...
This show really only highlighted how lovingly well researched and presented the BBC's Tribe really is.

Comment No. 534463
May 30 10:44

He was on Steve Wright's Afternoon Show yesterday (Radio 2) hosted by Dara O'Briain who can be as cutting as sharp cutty thing but not yesterday. I know the aim of these things is to plug latest book, film, tv etc but Dara's critical faculties had obviously been emasculated or he'd never watched it, why don't they get these people on AFTER the prog. film has gone out and then lay into them? It would be much more entertaining.. dream on..

Comment No. 534469
May 30 10:46

I saw the one where he went undercover as a Chelsea hooligan and in order to "fit in" with the thugs he got a Chelsea tatoo on his arm- he passed out while having it done. I think Clarkson would describe him as a "bit ginger beer".

Comment No. 534489
May 30 10:56

What a total codpiece. If only he'd been savagely gored by the bush-piglet. Crass and squirm-inducing.

Comment No. 534556
May 30 11:20

funny stuff, Sam!

Comment No. 534645
May 30 12:01

He's a total idiot. Drama Queen

Comment No. 534646
May 30 12:01

I wonder how many tv crews these tribes get thorough in a year.

"Are we hunting crocs today dad?"

"You're having a laugh son! I'm waiting for a call from my agent, he's got SKY and six!!! european networks queing up for more specials, plus there's a chance of a trip to the other side of the world in the big iron bird in the sky!"

"In the what?"

"In the plane son"

"oh that. Right"

Comment No. 534654
May 30 12:05

Funny indeed! I have to say that I didn't watch it on the basis that it would only gat my teeth nashing at Donny. How the hell he continues to get these roles is beyond me...

Comment No. 534718
May 30 12:32

I remember him walking round the streets of Brixton at midnight, waving a laptop around, using a mobile phone to prove just how dangerous the streets of our inner cities have become.
If I'd have seen him aimlessly mooching around the leafy streets of Wilmslow I'd have been tempted to take it all from him just to educate the fool.
When he was eventually approached and asked to follow a youth up and into some unsavoury looking flats - AND HE WENT - the inevitable happened and a knife was pulled on him.
The following footage of him sweating, almost crying and wetting himself back in the sanctuary of a waiting taxi was a joy to behold - the biggest idiot on television by miles.

Comment No. 534737
May 30 12:40

PS - I've already come across part of the return leg of this show - when he gets the tribe back to 'his world'.
Patronising... condescending... you ain't seen nothing yet.

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