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Big Game hunting with Louis

Louse Theroux: America's Most Dangerous Pets (BBC2, SUN), Tintin's Adventure with Frank Gardner (BBC2, SUN), Misfits (E4, SUN)

Nervousness and naivety are Louis Theroux's trademarks as a TV presenter, and they've served him well. The naivety is usually a put-on but in America's Most Dangerous Pets, Louis' nervousness was so real you could smell it.

"We're thinking we may have what we need," he told a woman called Jill, who'd just released one of the two chimpanzees she shares her home with from its cage in order to prove to him that the animal is as harmless as a cuddly toy.

The chimp, which clearly hadn't seen any of Louis' previous programmes, hurled itself violently against a window, shattering the glass. A visibly shaky Louis, observing from the other side, backed away.

America's Most Dangerous Pets, which Louis described as "a safari through the suburbs", should more properly have been called America's Most Dangerous Pet Owners, because the really dangerous beasts on display here were the humans.

Louis met Joe Exotic (not his real name, as if you didn't know), a former cop and pet store owner who runs the Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. "Park" is probably stretching it. Joe keeps his collection of 178 tigers and sundry other animals, including ligers, the cross-bred offspring of lions and tigers, caged up.

Most of the tigers were given to him by owners who discovered, rather too late, that a fully-grown man-eater is for life, not just for Christmas. The way Joe sees it, he's rescuing the animals and running a sanctuary. Others, including animal rights group PETA, have dubbed the place a "scamtuary".

There might be an over-supply of tigers in America (there are now more of the animals in captivity than in the wild) but demands for Joe's travelling roadshow have dried up, leaving him in serious financial trouble. He told Louis he'd rather kill the animals himself than give them up.

To be fair to Joe, who's expanded into breeding animals, he seems more misguided than mad. Another suburban zoo owner, Tim, is way beyond barking -- as he proved when he produced a Siberian tiger on a leash.

"I refuse to trust or respect any single human being on this planet," said Tim, who doesn't believe animals enjoy being in the wild. "I don't trust myself."

Louis, backing away again, didn't seem to trust Tim either.

One of these days, Louis' shtick is going to become unstuck. I hope his head doesn't do the same.

Can Misfits survive without Nathan (who, in the series, has gone to Las Vegas), played by Robert Sheehan (who, in real life, has gone on to make another series of RTE's wretched Love/Hate)?

Yep. And prosper, probably. Series three kicked off with the introduction of a new character to fill the Nathan/Sheehan-sized hole. His name is Rudy and his special power is that he can divide himself into two people, one very different to the other.

Nathan can always come back from Vegas, I suppose, possibly even with a new face (anything is possible in a series about Asbo teenagers with superpowers), but am I alone in thinking Sheehan has made a mistake quitting probably the cleverest British drama series on the box when it just seems to be getting better and better?

A brief word about Tintin's Adventure with Frank Gardner. The brief word is "Why?" I've never got the fuss about Herge's weird-looking Belgian boy reporter but a lot of people seem to love the comics.

Gardner, the BBC journalist who was paralysed from the waist down after being shot by al-Qaeda sympathisers in Riyadh in 2004, is one of them. Here he investigated, in minute detail, the story behind Tintin's first outing, In The Land of the Soviets, an anti-Commie propaganda piece.

Fun for him, I'm sure, but a bit of a slog for the non-believers.



LOUIS THEROUX: AMERICA'S MOST DANGEROUS PETS 3/5

TINTIN'S ADVENTURE WITH FRANK GARDNER 2/5

MISFITS 4/5