Medieval folk held that wives who scolded their husbands would have their mouths sewn shut by a "devil's darning needle" - ie, a dragonfly. There was also a theory that the testicles of beavers worked as painkillers, a belief that, as you might expect, helped the species to extinction here in Britain. If that sort of trivia appeals, you'll find much to enjoy in Chris Packham's new series. It sets out to show Britain through the eyes of its wildlife, with nice detours into the animals' chequered history with humans. Mostly, though, Packham offers portraits of beloved creatures - all, in this opening programme, living in and around our rivers, lakes and ponds. So there's wonderful footage of ospreys fishing in a Scottish loch (it later emerges this is a fish farm, which almost seems a cheat), and the amazing hinged jaw of the dragonly larva, and the sad tale of how imported American mink that escaped from mink farms (or were freed by activists) almost wiped out our native water voles. But now, thanks to some firm intervention, the water vole is making a comeback - and if a trial in Scotland is successful, the beaver may follow.
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Ready to Watch The Animals Guide to Britain, Season 1, Episode 1?