Birmingham Town Hall

*** (Four if you’re a fan of the show).

WILDLIFE presenter, adventurer, naturalist and writer, Steve can also add lecturer to his list of many talents as this is essentially what the tour entails, an old school lecture with the added bonus of a Q&A at the end of each half.

A self-confessed fan of Birmingham, where his mother came from, Steve takes us on a potted history of his travels under the guise of teaching us about different animals and why they’re not as scary as we think they are.

For fans of Steve’s books, or of his TV shows - Children's BBC series Deadly 60, Live and Deadly, Deadly 360 and Deadly Art there is plenty to enjoy here, not least seeing them man himself in the flesh.

Steve is an engaging host for the evening presenting a mix of anecdotes, facts, stills and videos. With an audience rammed with Children’s BBC aficionados He positions the content well, nothing too brutal but nothing too sugar coated either.

This is not to say that he patronises his young audiences, asking them questions throughout and pressing for the correct answers when vague one’s are given - they all know how important it is to specify a ‘box jellyfish now’.

It’s easier to underestimate Steve, with his children’s TV friendly mannerisms and his tendency of lurching into Steve Irwin territory but he undoubtedly knows his stuff - his happiness to take random Q&As is sign of that - and is also deadly serious in his view on nature and of the impact (both positive and negative) that man has on it.

That he hopes that the audience contains the saviours of nature gives hope, that he verbalises this hope gives motivation to the audience of future nature experts.

This, in part, is the really good thing about this show, it’s preaching to the converted, everyone there loves nature and appreciates Steve’s role in sharing it. You can feel the enthusiasm in the air and hear it with the audible responses to the questions. It’s a clever trick by Steve to insist that people shout out answers, far more fun and far more interesting to see just how much the young naturalists in waiting know; it’s an impressive amount.

I would concur with the age rating for this show - 8-80 - as the content and delivery is a little dry for anyone younger. I also think it’s a slight faux pas to have Steve with an owl on his shoulder for the promotional materials for the show. This sets an unrealistic expectation that live animals will feature in the show.

The show itself is educating, thought provoking and funny. Yes, it’s true that superfans of his shows may well have seen the footage before (excepting the entertaining bloopers) but I don’t think they’ll care a jot. He also stayed behind after the performance for autographs and selfies - a top man all round.

If everyone could care as much about nature as Steve, the world would be a better place. If you like nature then go see this show, if you don’t like nature then there’s even more reason why you should see it.

Theo Clarke


Steve Backshall’s Wild World Tour remains in the Midlands on the start of its tour moving to Malvern’s Forum Theatre on Bonfire Night, November 5. 

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