Thursday, August 16, 2012

An entirely suitable 'Role Model'

Talking of dear old Keith Floyd the other week reminded me of another of my TV heroes, Les Hiddins - the 'Bush Tucker Man'. Hiddins is a former Australian Army officer who saw service in Vietnam, and is an expert on wilderness survival. Starting from the late 1980s, he made three series of the show Bush Tucker Man for Australian TV, demonstrating how the Aboriginal peoples live off the land in the Outback. I think the programmes didn't show up on British TV until the early or mid-90s, but I became a big fan, and would love to watch them again. They were breathtakingly photographed; and Les was a TV natural: unassuming and down-to-earth yet completely authoritative, and plainly loving the austere environments he was navigating.

Most of the other 'role models' I've celebrated on here were distinguished by their heavy drinking as well as other nobler and more creative qualities. I have no idea if Les is much of a drinker (although, being an Aussie, he's almost certainly fond of the odd beer now and again), but he is manifestly a thoroughly good bloke. And I just discovered that it was his birthday a few days ago: he turned 66 on Monday. Happy Birthday, Les!

Quite a lot of his show is uploaded to YouTube now - here's a sample of an early episode.

More on Les can be found here and here; and on 'bush tucker' here and here.

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