I really like Jeremy Wades television program River Monsters, and last nights episode Atomic Assassin was a classic example of why. Jeremy was granted unprecedented access to the lake next to the infamous Chernobyl power plant. His goal was to catch a legendary, mutated catfish before exceeding exposure limits to the area's radiation.
Now we all know there’s a bit of fun going on at times ‘in the making’ but I found myself lost in the eerie, grim and amazing landscape of an evacuated irradiated industrial and urban zone. The accident was terrible in its consequences for both the local population and the environment and Jeremy’s journey here to the Ukraine was layered with many possible interpretations.
The fact that his access was limited and highly regulated reminded me a little of times I spent sneaking onto a local reservoir where big rainbows lurked, many years ago! A special place still. There was already an added air of tension and heightened expectation by being allowed into somewhere that has been subject to neglect and free from human intrusion for thirty years, to a large extent – absolutely perfect for angling.
With a back drop worthy of ‘Call of Duty IV’ , according to my young son Dan, it was dramatic and terribly compulsive viewing. Of course Jeremy had little time as he was being exposed to radiation constantly so this heightened the drama no end!
I found myself a little conflicted when watching the program, an area of such tragedy and yet for this program it was angling in its purest essence. The programs are ultimately about the fish the environment and the people who live and work there and to a large extent its very very hard work for all involved.
In the midst of all the television there is a large portion of reality too. Try and see it – compulsive viewing!