It's the final in the My Kind of Place series (TV One, Saturday, 7.30pm) before I actually get round to watching it.
"Shopping is an exercise in frustration and futility," Theresa Healey says guiltily, thereby endearing herself to me immediately. Why guiltily? Well, someone has paid for her to be swanning around Australia and this puts a certain responsibility on a girl's shoulders.
Luckily for her - and for those paying for this jaunt - she's extremely easy on the eye (and the heart) with a body built for slinky dresses. If - heaven preserve us - Trinny and Susannah had been waiting outside the dressing room for her to emerge, lithe perfection in fuchsia pink, they'd not have found one extra bump to lunge at. But Theresa doesn't really want to be there. Whatever the show's title might scream at us, this is not her sort of place. But like the rest of us she's facing the power bill, the rates, the cuts in funding.
She leaves Myer empty-handed, bless her. Selling out can be done reasonably speedily but indecent haste is unattractive. She does the Melbourne equivalent of moving from Kirks to Cuba St. Yes, she's off to somewhere "quirky" and this time she buys. Here at home there's a brief struggle, an annoying acknowledgement that the posh frock she didn't buy actually looked a hang of a lot nicer than the quirky one she did. But she's up on points.
I guess we'll have this sort of programme as long as tourist boards around the world are prepared to fork out the pennies required to drag some hapless celeb out of their comfort zone to squawk enthusiastically about a cliff, a shop, a cafe, a frock, a dead crustacean.
I wonder, is there, say, a Danish soap star or badminton player kayaking down the Huka Falls as I write, all paid for by our tourist board in exchange for a 7pm weekend slot on Danske TV?
When Theresa finally gets out into the wilderness she's faced with aforementioned dead crustacean, except he isn't dead: freshly captured twins Kev and Kel Crayfish are flapping feebly in fishy panic. One of those typically Aussie dags gives Kev and Kel to Theresa for her tea. This is your tea, Theresa, and it's alive and twitching.
A while later - her hands no doubt still tingling with revulsion at their crusty encounter - she's deep in the woods, tramping along, burbling away about how quiet it is. Well, was. She hasn't tramped, she says - again, a little guiltily - for about 30 years. So the great outdoors isn't really her sort of place either. Though she does turn out to like it quite a lot. And dinner - euthanased crayfish beautifully cooked - delish.
From Te Resa to Te Radar, another decent stick. He's not here to cruise around the planet gushing, "How gorgeous!" He promises to plant trees to pay back his air miles. Let's face it - just one glance his way offers ample evidence that no television crew is ever going to take him on a buying spree at Myer. Posh clothes are not what Sir's about. He's funny, and interested in pretty much everything.
At Downstage, Radar is currently talking about us, he's often heard on National Radio, he's been an Intrepid Traveller and now on TV One Sunday at 7pm it's Global Radar. Last night he was on about the most important resource in the world - water. Lucky old New Zealand has so much of it that we pour it down the sink without a second thought.
It's an interesting magazine-style format, Global Radar, keen not to be pious or bossy (even though he does begin by shaking his incredulous head at two bottles of water in his hands, one of which has come to us at great expense all the way from Italy). It's an organised mishmash of inventions and pointed comment, which he often gets others to make. He's off to Oz, commenting with a sort of suspect faux-naivety that he can't really get why they call Australia the lucky country when it's either having droughts and fires, or floods.
He's already talked to a New Zealander who makes pod-like things to collect rainwater in his suburban garage, and now he's talking to an entrepreneurial type who says it doesn't matter what you think about the cause of climate change, there's money to be made from accepting it's happening. At about this point, after 10 minutes or so of Te Radar's perky, cheeky voice, a deep-seated lethargy overcame me and the strangest thing happened: I lost the will to watch television.
ONE TO WATCH
Speaking of Australia, The Amazing Race Australia starts on TV2 tonight at 7.30. First leg is Australia to Indonesia. At 9.30, if you haven't been watching them all day on E! and Vibe you can switch to Prime for the 63rd Emmy Awards. Go The Good Wife, you wonderful thing!
- The Dominion Post