Secret Life Of The Safari Park review: Meet Kevin, the cheeky monkey who likes cars and older ladies, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

Secret Life Of The Safari Park 

Rating:

Julia 

Rating:

Kevin the teenager has been obsessed with cars his whole life. He’s all over them, literally. But now he’s discovered girls… or rather, older ladies.

‘Kevin is a bit of a Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate,’ remarks Pete, who knows the youngster well. ‘His girlfriend is more of a Mrs Robinson.’

Pete is a zookeeper in Knowsley, near Liverpool, and the amorous Kev is one of the baboons followed by cameras in Secret Life Of The Safari Park (Ch4). 

The cheeky monkey is notorious for wrecking visitors’ vehicles, ripping off the trim, wipers, aerials and anything else he can destroy.

More adult pleasures have begun to claim his attentions, but to impress the females he still likes to show off on an expensive motor.

The cheeky monkey is notorious for wrecking visitors' vehicles, ripping off the trim, wipers, aerials and anything else he can destroy

The cheeky monkey is notorious for wrecking visitors’ vehicles, ripping off the trim, wipers, aerials and anything else he can destroy

It’s extraordinary how similar baboons and humans really are. Lion behaviour isn’t so different either. The film crew arrived during mating season and Pete, a man with a witty turn of phrase, pointed out the signs. 

‘The female is tail-flicking and rubbing her head under the male’s chin. Short of a bit of Barry White, you know what you’re in for.’

Indictment of the night

‘Are they just incompetent, or evil?’ asked Jo (Monica Dolan), appalled by the scale of corporate wrongdoing in Mr Bates vs The Post Office (ITV). 

Millions of viewers are asking the same.

 How can the postal service’s image ever recover from this? 

Narrated by Maxine Peake, this new series differs from the long-running Secret Life Of The Zoo by placing more emphasis on the visitors.

We follow families in their cars, driving slowly around the enclosures and marvelling at the sights. 

It’s a bit like Gogglebox on wheels. But the stars are the animals.

A congo buffalo called No Horns was protecting her newborn calf, Crumpet, from nosy rhinos, and she wasn’t taking any nonsense. 

No Horns earned her name after an earlier battle with a rhino — despite the damage to her headgear, she kept her baby safe. 

No catastrophe could be worse for a young buck called Cosmo than snapping his antlers. They’re his pride and joy. 

Male fallow deer decorate their antlers with anything they can find, to emphasise their size and beauty. One stag with a huge clump of dry grass wrapped around his head looked like Art Garfunkel in his prime. 

Cosmo made the mistake of festooning his antlers in wire, which nearly proved fatal after one end became snared around his jaw. 

Narrated by Maxine Peake, this new series differs from the long-running Secret Life Of The Zoo by placing more emphasis on the visitors

Narrated by Maxine Peake, this new series differs from the long-running Secret Life Of The Zoo by placing more emphasis on the visitors

Secret Life of the Safari Park is a bit like Gogglebox on wheels. But the stars are the animals

Secret Life of the Safari Park is a bit like Gogglebox on wheels. But the stars are the animals

Fortunately vets were able to dart him and cut him loose while he was under the influence. A hapless TV producer was under the influence on Julia (Sky Atlantic), a culinary period drama based on a true story, after downing a shot of coffee laced with LSD at a New York party in the 1960s.

Halfway through his trip, he located the meaning of the universe in a dripping tap. Though the props and costumes are perfect in their detail, and the cast is top-notch, Julia suffers from a feeling that the script was written by committee. 

Sarah Lancashire plays Julia Child, TV’s first celebrity chef, a sort of American Fanny Cradock. 

Her Riviera kitchen, where she perfects French recipes for Ohio housewives, could not be further away from Happy Valley, and neither could her accent — she sounds like Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served? Isabella Rossellini is her irritable French mentor, and David Hyde Pierce plays her husband Paul. 

You’ll remember him as Niles Crane, though he has wisely avoided the Frasier remake. No longer boyish, he now has the air of an amiably absent-minded tortoise. 

Whenever the story switches to its U.S. characters, the emphasis on political correctness becomes insufferable. In one scene, a publisher’s assistant lectured crime novelist Ross Macdonald (played by Craig Bierko) about his heroine’s ‘privilege’ and ‘trauma’. 

Macdonald, in reality a peerless writer of hard-bitten thrillers, nodded meekly and promised to do better. Another win for wokeness over history.

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