KANGAROO DUNDEE SERIES
6x30 minute series
Brolga (aka Chris Barns) is the 6ft 7in strong but sensitive Aussie star of the extraordinary BBC series Kangaroo Dundee. Brolga lives in a simple tin shed in the outback where he raises orphaned baby kangaroos. It is a sad fact of life that kangaroo mothers are at the mercy of speeding cars in this part of the world - killed on the road, their young still tucked up in their pouches. These young joeys holding on to life, have been given a second chance thanks to the kindness and dedication of Brolga, who carefully retrieves them and nurses them back to health.
It seems that Chris Barnes – Brolga – is a bit of a hit with the pom ladies after the first series of Kangaroo Dundee (BBC2). It's not hard to see why, frankly. A gentle, handsome, rugged giant of a man, he lives a simple life in the outback, nursing baby kangaroo orphans. Their mummies have generally been run over, by road trains, or by speeding Aussies so overladen with Fosters they were unable to stop (if they even tried to). The joeys in the pouch often survive, cushioned inside their maternal airbags. Imagine the trauma, though.
Brolga is their mum now. He sleeps with them, bottle-feeds them throughout the night, teaches them to somersault into pillowcase pouches. Now we've reached the second episode of series two. Series two! But it is oddly compelling television, and charming, too, and not only for Brolga fanciers. Anyway, he's toilet-training little Rex and Ruby, tickling their bits until they widdle. "Kangaroo wee cuts through all the grease and grime on the floor," he says. "It's the cleanest part of the shack." Who needs Flash?
This is what worries me about all these English women who have apparently fallen for Brolga, may even be racing down under to steal his heart and live out their days under the stars with him. Have they thought about the wee on the floor, the stench, the heat, the five-foot brown snakes and clouds of flies? It's the flies that would do it for me – not that I'm thinking of moving in myself.
"The girls would probably think: where do I plug my hairdryer in?" Brolga tells a local DJ who's quizzing him about his new celebrity status. "Or where's the loo? Basically you take your shovel and a dunny roll, hide behind the termite mound round the back, and that's it, you know."
To be honest, I'm quite surprised he even has dunny roll. "I'd give it a week," he says, about how long any potential Mrs Brolga would last. Maybe he's just better suited to living with kangaroos. And some things – Brolga included – are best appreciated on television.
SAM WOOLASTON, THE GUARDIAN
Standing in a remote spot in the Australian outback, looking out across grassland and ochre-coloured earth, Chris Barnes is gazing at the sky. “It’s dusk here,” he says, speaking on a crackly mobile from his home in Alice Springs. “The sky is streaked with orange and purple. It’s so beautiful. All around there is nothing – just me and my kangaroos.”
Ladies, meet Kangaroo Dundee, the star of the BBC2 documentary of the same name, who has become Britain’s most lusted-after animal lover. Thousands of us were left swooning when Barnes first appeared on our screens last weekend, all rakish blond hair, wistful blue eyes and khaki-clad biceps. We oohed and aahed as he nursed kangaroos back to health; we sobbed when Daisy the joey died in his arms; and, oh, how our ears pricked up when the 6ft 7in hunk said he wished he had a woman to share it all with.
In a matter of days, the founder of the Alice Springs Kangaroo Rescue Sanctuary has received 2,000 messages from female fans across the UK, including 10 marriage proposals. “Absolutely gorgeous… and the roos are cute, too,” gushes one on Barnes’s Facebook page. “If I wasn’t married, I definitely would,” writes another. Donations have flooded in from France, Holland and America, raising more than £13,500 for his rescue centre.
More than 9,000 miles away, Barnes is bemused by the female attention. “Listen,” he drawls, in a deep, husky voice that has made Britain’s women weak at the knees, “I’m just an ordinary bloke living out in the bush.
SARAH RAINEY, THE TELEGRAPH
Directed and Filmed: Andrew Graham-Brown
Executive Producer: Andrew Graham-Brown
Editor Rick Holbrook
Commissioning Executive Producer: Tom McDonald