There’s a piercing demonstration of the brutal pragmatism of war when former Royal Marine Bertie Kerr describes how he shot the Taliban insurgent who killed one of his colleagues, 21-year-old Tom Curry. “Yeah, I dropped him,” says Kerr under film-maker Chris Terrill’s gentle questioning. “I think someone else put some rounds into him as well, straight away. He died straight away.”
Kerr and Terrill are old friends. The pair first met in 2006 when Terrill filmed the then 23-year-old Kerr straight out of training as he took command of his men in Helmand Province for the series Commando: On the Front Line. For this moving update they return to Afghanistan as British and American forces prepare to leave.
Kerr is now a City banker, but the memories of his fighting days, and particularly of his lost friend, Tom Curry, never leave him.
No one expects Coast to be the The Ascent of Man, but this particular episode of a sunny jaunt around Australia feels like a beautifully filmed holiday video as we go surfing and enjoy the delights of two resorts, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
The Gold Coast is, inevitably, an “iconic” surfers’ paradise, so Australian TV presenter Brendan Moar removes his shirt to show off his manly torso as he demonstrates the dangers of being caught in a riptide, or “the invisible clutches of the ocean herself”.
It’s all tremendously lightweight. Even serious bits about a tiny fort that played a huge role in the war in the Pacific and a former leper colony are quickly dispensed with before we are invited to marvel at the work of a sand sculptor. His creations are glorious and clever.
This time we’re in the busiest maternity unit in the West Country – Southmead Hospital in Bristol – where three couples are preparing to give birth. They’re all in different situations: Su is due to have a caesarean section because her baby is in the breech position, Mel is expecting twins (and she’s a twin herself) while Katy thinks she’s going to have another girl.
As always it’s touching, dramatic and funny in turn, especially some of the scenes involving Su and her partner Dan because they’re such characters. However, there’ll also be times you’re holding your breath in anticipation when you really should be panting.