Stephen Fry bombs. Again.

"Stephen Fry and the Great American Oil Spill" aired in the UK last night (I'm in Australia, so I have to trust the internet). Both the Guardian and Metro were pretty darn harsh when it came to reviewing the program.

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Stephen Fry loves Louisiana. Four months after the BP oil spill, dubbed the worst ecological disaster in the history of America, Fry returns to the Deep South together with zoologist Mark Carwardine, to see what the impact has been on the people, the vast wetlands and the species that live there. What they find both surprises and divides the travelling duo.

If you live in the UK, you can watch the video here.

Stephen Fry And The Great American Oil Spill - Guardian

Stephen Fry's narration of Stephen Fry and the Great American Oil Spill (BBC2, Sunday) sounded like he was reading a children's story. Is everyone sitting comfortably, boys and girls? OK then: once upon a time there was a big, bad, greedy monster who spilled a lot of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, killing birds and making life hard for the people who live there. So I and my good friend Mark Carwadine who's a zoologist went to see for ourselves. And after speaking to everyone Mark was still convinced that the monster was very very bad and it was all its fault.

Meanwhile I sweated a lot and looked at my iPhone, was charmingly British to the locals, and said clever things such as: "the only constant on this trip is that we keep running into paradoxes". And I began to wonder if the monster was the only villain around here, or if perhaps it was a bit more complicated than Mark thought.

And they all lived happily ever after. Well, apart from the pelicans, the crabs, the fishermen, and the ladies of the Mimosa strip joint who claim the fishermen can no longer afford to pay them to take off their clothes.


Stephen Fry And The Great American Oil Spill: A wave of waffling clichés - Metro
TV review: On the evidence of Stephen Fry And The Great American Oil Spill, the national treasure should stick to clever clogs panel shows and huffing on and off Twitter.

The thought of Stephen Fry bending over backwards is not an image to dwell on for too long but you had to wonder just whose persuasive tongue had got to work on him as he set about Stephen Fry And The Great American Oil Spill (BBC2).

Where it was reasonable to expect righteous anger, instead we got Fry rolling over and playing the corporate apologist.

Yes, I know his brain is the size of a planet and he’s a national treasure but this was Stephen Fry BP, as in beyond the pale.

Apparently, it’s not really BP’s fault the Gulf of Mexico has been turned into an ecological time bomb, it’s our collective fault for buying their oil.

BP bigwigs, in Fry’s woolly liberal view, are just humans caught up in a human mess doing their best to sort out an unfortunate situation – and a similar tidal wave of waffling clichés delivered in Fry’s best sonorous tones. You felt like ducking his head in the slick.

For anger (and sense) we had to turn to Fry’s travelling companion, zoologist Mark Carwardine. Bubbling beneath the surface of this report was the sense that the two of them had seriously fallen out on the issues involved.

It was left to Carwardine to press a BP spokesman on the potential ecological disasters of the slick – there are worrying signs of contamination in crabs, which will work its way down the food chain – while Fry simpered and smoothed feathers, unwilling to cut up rough and spoil his jolly travelogue.

On this evidence, Fry should stick to clever clogs panel shows and huffing on and off Twitter and leave the real world to people like Carwardine, who can bear the idea of not being thought urbane and charming if it means getting to the truth.

Fry, for example, could hardly grasp the idea that an increase in domestic violence (apparently a purely male phenomenon) is directly related to the stress brought on by corporate misdemeanors.

In short, he simply doesn’t cut it as an investigative reporter, yet we seem destined to suffer the great man’s view on anything and everything.

It’s not all bad, though: his X Factor Wagner tribute is the best thing he’s done in ages.


Bottom Line: Fry doesn’t cut it as an investigative reporter, and his X Factor Wagner tribute is the best thing he’s done in ages. (ouch)

For those of you wondering what Stephen Fry X Factor Wagner tribute is:

As sad as it sounds, I have to agree. He's been stuck in a loop for the past couple of years, and feels like he's not even trying anymore. His Sydney/Melbourne performances in August were disappointing. As was Fry Chronicles (compared to Moab).