Twenty years ago, writer Douglas Adams and the zoologist Mark Carwardine set off in search of some of the most endangered species on the planet to produce the timeless classic book Last Chance to See.
Now Stephen Fry – who by chance house-sat for Douglas while he was on his epic adventure – is realising the dream himself, as he joins Mark in what could be the final outing to capture some of these species on camera in the TV version of Last Chance to See.
Across six special weeks, Stephen will be engaging in what he calls an “exhausting, exhilarating and exasperating” journey, but one that he wouldn’t have missed for the world, as he tracks the progress of the Aye-Aye in Madagascar, the Blue Whale off the coast of Mexico, the Kakapo in New Zealand, the Northern White Rhino in Uganda, the Komodo Dragon in Indonesia and the Amazonian Manatee in Brazil.
Stephen admits that while he does love animals, he’s not so keen on the fact that to see them in the wild, one needs to spend so much of the time trekking and camping to where they are. But it’s a sacrifice he’s prepared to make to share some incredible moments – his first sight of a blue whale fluking (raising its tail vertically in the air) stirring “almost unbearable” excitement; meeting the world’s smallest primate, Madame Berthe’s Pygmy Mouse Lemur – “sheer, unadulterated cute” – and watching tiny turtle hatchlings rushing across the sand to reach the sea – “one of the great evenings of my life”.