Monkey Planet was funnier than most comedy

Dr George McGavin monkeying around with primates on BBC1 really tickled me, says Ellie Walker-Arnott


There’s nothing better than a good giggle. Especially on a Wednesday, our mid-week, “hump day”.


When I sat down in front of BBC1’s latest nature documentary I wasn’t expecting a chuckle. But, much to my amusement, last night’s Monkey Planet really tickled me.

The hour I spent with Dr George McGavin (that man who covered himself in bees last year), as he travelled around the globe in an attempt to show us just how shockingly intelligent and similar some of our closest relatives are to us, was one of the most entertaining I can remember in a long time.

McGavin spent the series’ opening episode nonchalantly leaning on rocks and creeping up on our closest animal cousins – climbing in to caves, taking his clothes off in the snow to prove that he would get cold (you probably didn’t need to bother with that one, McGavin), testing out life at the top of a tree.

And crinkly-eyed George was entertaining enough himself. But his primate pals were the real jokers. And in some cases were so like us that you couldn’t help but let out a giggle.

Who knew monkeys are out there right now washing themselves with soap, sitting in boats and just casually scribbling in notebooks?

Some of them snuggle to keep warm on cold winter nights or struggle put their squabbling kids to bed in caves. Some start their day with a spot of sunbathing, while others – those naughty, streetwise, city-dwelling macaques who thieve, hang around in gangs and vandalise property for larks – spend their time thrill seeking.

It helped that the BBC1 show was cleverly edited with a perfect soundtrack, so the funny creatures with their funny little human-like faces and long, dexterous limbs looked like they were leaping around, carefully choreographed, to music.

Plus Monkey Planet was packed full of fascinating facts about there remarkable and resourceful chaps, so I actually learnt some stuff too. A win, win right?

Thankfully there are another two episodes of the documentary to come. So that’s my Wednesday nights sorted. And it should be yours too. 

Monkey Planet is on Wednesdays at 9:00pm on BBC1