Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine travel the world in pursuit of species on the brink of extinction
In 1985, The Observer magazine sent Douglas Adams to Madagascar to look for the exotic and potentially extinct aye-aye lemur. There he met zoologist Mark Carwardine, and together they made a radio pilot about their travels, In Search of the Aye-Aye. This led to a hugely popular radio series, Last Chance to See, later adapted as a bestselling book. Douglas Adams died in 2001, but his friend Stephen Fry took his place for a follow-up 20th anniversary television series, broadcast on BBC Two in 2009.
This collection includes the initial pilot show and the complete BBC radio series from 1989, in which Adams and Carwardine embark on a quest to track down weird and wonderful threatened species across the globe. Voyaging from New Zealand to Chile, they hope to encounter the flightless Kakapo parrot, the river dolphin revered as the ‘goddess of the Yangtze’ and the secretive, confusing manatee – as well as the randy Rodrigues fruit bat, the terrifying (and smelly) Komodo dragon and the solitary Juan Fernandez fur seal.
Funny, thought-provoking and poignant, Last Chance to See combines Adams’ inimitable humour and Carwardine’s expertise to provide a unique snapshot of our vanishing world and the rare creatures that inhabit it.
Sadly the Kakapo remains critically endangered, and Yangtze River dolphin was declared functionally extinct in 2006. Part travelogue, part natural history show, this unforgettable account of a remarkable voyage of discovery serves as a reminder to protect our planet while we still can.
1 In Search of the Aye-Aye
2 Ralph, The Fragrant Parrot of Codfish Island (the kakapo)
3 Gone Fishing! (the Yangtze River dolphin)
4 Animal, Vegetable or Mineral? (the Amazonian manatee)
5 The Answer is Blowing in the Wind (the Rodrigues fruit bat)
6 A Man-Eating, Evil-Smelling Dragon (the Komodo dragon)
7 The Sultan of Juan Fernandez (the Juan Fernandez fur seal)
Presented by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine
Natural Selection: In Search of the Aye-Aye
Produced by Tim Grout Smith
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 1 November 1985
Last Chance to See
Narrated by Peter Jones
Produced by Chris Muir
Series producer: Gaynor Shutte
Additional music by Steven Faux
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4 October 1989-8 November 1989