I blame Bear Grylls. Ever since he burst on to our TV screens around 10 years ago, eating locusts and drinking his own bodily fluids, there have been a whole raft of TV shows featuring man’s (and it usually is men) battle against the elements, nature and his own ego.
The latest is Mutiny (Channel 4, Tuesdays, 9pm), in which nine blokes – sailors, carpenters, doctors, TV cameramen – recreate the voyage of the infamous Captain Bligh, after the mutinous sailors of The Bounty cast him and a small crew adrift in a tiny boat.
Bligh and his men travelled 4,000 miles across the Coral Sea to Timor, an incredible feat of navigation.
But while the men of the modern Mutiny were in an exact replica of that tiny boat, with similar rations and equipment, they were backed with a huge support vessel.
Which begged the question: What was the point? Surely we’ve seen this before, on The Island with Bear Grylls, Born Survivor, SAS: Who Dares Wins?
In fact, the modern Captain Blight – Ant Middleton, who seemed to model his look on Tintin’s seafaring pal Captain Haddock – is a former special forces soldier who featured in the latter, while the two cameramen on board also filmed on The Island.
So we have seen it before, with the same people.
Yes, it did increase your admiration for Bligh and his crew, seeing the physical effects of this voyage, but there was little tension, or humour. What drama there was came from Ant’s battles with gobby Scouser Chris, who refused to take orders, and moaned about being treated as a kid, while throwing toddler-sized tantrums.
As I watched Haddock vs Wazzock, it was hard not to have mutinous feelings myself.
For a blisteringly accurate portrayal of the state of regional newspapers, look no further than the second episode of Broadchurch (ITV, Mondays, 9pm). Kittens for a front page splash, indeed.
So, Top Gear is back (BBC2, Sundays, 8pm). If last year’s Chris Evans fiasco was Top Gear 2.0, this year’s Matt LeBlanc version has reverted to Basic, with all the old tropes from the Clarkson era.