Airdate: Martin Clunes: Man and Beast

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On Sunday ABC premieres the two part series, Martin Clunes: Man and Beast, in which the Doc Martin star explores humans and animals working side by side.

From birds to bears, and from pets to primates, involving ancient and modern techniques and partnerships, Clunes considers the conflicting nature of the relationship, which sees man  also hunt, slaughter and eat.

This premiered in the UK in May.

Episode 1:
Martin begins his journey in Nepal, where the cow is sacred, and ownership symbolises wealth, strength and abundance.

In the countryside virtually every household has a cowshed. Martin meets Shubaka Chowlagi, a farmer who supports his entire family with just eight cows. Shubaka’s beasts are farmed solely for dairy. In order to work out how much he gets paid the fat content of the milk has to be assessed. Martin cycles with Shubaka with the urns of fresh milk to see how much it is worth.

Martin’s travels to Ko Yao Noi in South East Asia. It is a popular tourist spot, but it also has a traditional agricultural economy work where people have to work hard to survive. There he meets Sarawut, a hard working pigtail macaque monkey, one of the biggest and most agile members of the monkey family. They are spectacular climbers, which makes Sarawut the ideal candidate for the job of scaling the 100 foot trees to pick coconuts.

In Japan, Martin goes night fishing in the Nagara River where cormorant fishermen have worked for more than 1300 years. He meets Tetsuji Yamashita, one of only six imperial fishermen in the world.

They fish at night because this is when the fish are half asleep. The light from the braziers draws the drowsy fish up to the surface, ready for the cormorant to strike.

Martin meets one of the surviving members of the ancient Matagi tribe of northern Japan. The Matagi hunted and killed the Asian black bear partly for their own safety, but also as a source of food.

Sunday 14th June at 7.40pm on ABC.

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