Friday, 19 April 2013

INTERVIEW: Jeremy Wade on his memories of catching ‘River Monsters’

Jeremy Wade, star of River Monsters on Animal Planet, has a few fisherman tales to tell. But unlike some yarns about the big ones that got away, Wade’s stories are true.

The former science teacher’s search for the elusive monsters of freshwater rivers has been an enormous success for Animal Planet. The premiere of season five reached a record audience, and the only obstacle that may stop Wade from more adventures is whether there’s enough monsters to discover.

“It was actually a very memorable season to make,” Wade said recently during a phone interview. “You know, our subject matter is finite. So I think at the beginning of the year, we’re scratching our heads. You know, what are we going to film. I think as we go further it makes us think more laterally.”

Along those lines, Wade and his crew head to Chernobyl, the infamous radioactive site, to fish in a cooling pond — not exactly paradise. “If you would have asked me a few years ago if I was going to be fishing anywhere like that, it wouldn’t have been on my list,” he said. “We also looked into the Loch Ness monster. You know, that’s right on my doorstep. I sort of tend to go to rather far-flung places, and here’s the best-known monster myth possibly in the world, and it’s right on my doorstep. Well, maybe it’s time we had a look at that. And that’s a two-hour special. That’s sort of the finale of the season.”

Other season-five highlights include Colombia, Bolivia and southern South America, a region that Wade identifies as his “favorite stomping ground.”

The fisherman doesn’t just look for unusual species; he also tries to unearth new details on “monsters” that have already been featured on the show. His upcoming Colombia episode looks at sting-rays and their behavior.

“I think the pressure is more in the individual programs because if we don’t actually get a fish at the end of it, then we don’t really have a film,” he said. “People are fascinated with predators. I think that’s part of the success of the program. We’re hard-wired to be interested in predators.”

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