So, there I was sat minding my own business watching the telly on a busy Monday night after a long day at work, and then a bit of hard graft at the gym, when a new TV show appeared before my eyes on channel four called Hunted. Now this has been on before but to be honest I had never seen it but it looked quite interesting. The principle is simple enough and goes right back to the very beginning of time itself, where neolithic man used to hunt, well other neolithic men. Thinking back to childhood, some of the earliest games that you ever play involve hunting each other. Hide and Seek is a good example, and who can forget the thrill of spotting a friend hidden away behind a tree, or under a bed or when you get older finding someone you do not know under your ex-wife’s bed, but that is another game.
So the situation is clear; ten ordinary members of the public are selected by the programme makers to be dumped in a particular location, they must then use their wits, guile, and ingenuity to avoid a group of very well trained former Police and military detectives and investigators and basically not get caught and captured. The show started off with a brief introduction of the key hunters. Lead by a grizzled ex Scotland Yard detective of the Reagan and Carter Sweeney Todd mould (Sweeney Todd is cockney rhyming slang for the Flying Squad, the once infamous anti robbery squad that was a key part of the Metropolitan Police, they were notoriously hard and close encounters with the villains would often result in the bad guys having to have a Richard The Third to quote another well known Cockney slang expression.)
This hard nosed “seen it all before” cop was joined by a very smooth former sniper who was also an expert in concealment, they were also supported by a big team in the control centre, and a collection of out on the road teams who drove Range Rovers, and an “eye in the sky” surveillance helicopter, backed up by a small army of high performance drones, very useful when searching for people in rural areas.To be honest given the pedigree of the hunters I was mildly surprised that there was anybody left after the first ten minutes. Interestingly the hunted were a strange collection of people, they included a deputy mayor, a father and son team, a retired head teacher, and a former police officer.
The programme followed the hunted being driven into inner City Manchester where they all promptly legged it, seemingly without any real plan to escape capture other than to run to ground and hide amongst the masses. The former mayor of Bradford legged it straight into a Subway, fast food outlet, where he persuaded a man shaped nothing like him to don his blue coat and pretend to be him. Genius you might think until the guy just strolled out into the street like he was taking a walk in the park. Even I, the untrained bloke on the couch, could see that this clearly was not the mayor, who then scappered at full pelt whilst swearing like a trooper.
However what really stole the show for me was when a nice elderly lady who I believe was once a head teacher, decided that the best way to escape was to pop to Chorlton street Coach Station and catch a nice National Express Coach down to Milton Keynes. One small snag however, was the fact that the hunters were able to scrutinise CCTV footage to identify her ticket and destination. So, low and behold the show tracked her getting on the coach, chatting to passengers, it even had a nice shot of the Coach Tracker logo for good measure. The hunters were licking their lips as they followed her progress down south and the team were ready and waiting to pounce at Milton Keynes. And then she threw a clever curved ball, as they approached Milton Keynes she asked the driver if he had anyone to pick up, he said no, then she asked the passengers if anyone wanted to get off again a resounding no.
So, the Hunters could only watch with dismay as the coach thundered past Milton Keynes on its way to London. However despite her best efforts to camourflage herself herself by wearing a different hat, good old coach tracker could still track the journey and sadly as soon as she got off that was it, they nabbed her. Game over, all part of the service. Coach Tracker and Hunters one, hunted old lady nil.