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Wildlife programming returns to ITV, but is Deep Jungle a fresh take on the genre or a triumph of format over fact?

For a long time, it seemed that wildlife programming was extinct on ITV, but tomorrow the network launches its first primetime natural history documentary since the glory days of Survival.

As the opening sequence of Deep Jungle tracks over a computer-generated jungle and explorers flash lasers through the canopies, wildlife’s return to the mainstream will inevitably provoke questions. Is this evidence of a wildlife renaissance or the triumph of a new entertainment-driven species: all format and no fact?

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Perverts and narcissists

Channel 4′s cashing in on a Chinese artist eating a dead baby is a greater outrage than the cannibalism itself

Channel 4, which last month brought us the first “performance” autopsy, is now offering us the chance to see pictures of a Chinese performance artist eating a dead baby’s flesh. Last year they also attempted to make us laugh at the sexual abuse of children. Around each there have been complex intellectual debates, especially amongst the liberal intelligentsia, but somehow the simple question always gets overlooked: whatever happened to limits and taboos?

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Ulrika has the last word

Those who thought the main interest of Ulrika Jonsson’s autobiography would be Sven-Goran Eriksson’s tangled love life were in for a surprise. Sven isn’t the only famous man whose career is being shaken by her revelations. Indeed he must be sighing with relief now attention has shifted to her accusation of rape against a television personality. Everyone in the media knows this man’s identity. His career “is now over”, one senior executive is quoted as saying, “whether his name is out or not”.

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It had no place on TV

Sometimes I am ashamed to be “a leftie” and the response to the Brass Eye programme is one such occasion. There’s a consensus building in this quarter that the programme was a valid, nay brilliant, satire “about the media hysteria surrounding paedophilia”.

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Seeing is reliving

Tragedies hurt us all, even if we are just watching on television

Are we all suffering from a version of post-traumatic stress caused by repeated exposure to horrific images in the media? This may sound insulting to those involved in disasters. But modern media with their graphic coverage of horrific events may be stirring up public anxiety and grief which has no recognition or outlet. Could this be one reason for increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress-related illnesses?

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