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What is life like in a post-nuclear paradise? That was the unlikely real-life scenario explored in this frankly fascinating look at the animal citizens of Chernobyl’s “exclusion zone”.
In a nutshell
If you’re too young to remember, the Chernobyl disaster was one of the most alarming calamities of the 1980s. In fact, if a fatal accident could ever be said to capture the zeitgeist, then this awful meltdown at a Soviet nuclear power plant – at a time of anti-nuclear and Cold War tensions – did just that. And, as this documentary revealed last night, the aftermath has been stranger and more intriguing than anyone could have imagined.
Designated a no-go area due to radioactive contamination, this supposed “dead zone” has been reclaimed by nature, and is now a bizarre kind of post-apocalyptic utopia of horses, birds, falcons and wolves. We followed experts as they bravely entered the site to survey this poisoned yet productive land, occasionally howling to get the attention of the majestic wolves whose very existence here is a savage rebuke to the worst that humans can do. The best part? Tests revealing that the health of the animals is, shockingly, really rather good. Who’d have thought it possible?
What's the verdict?
It’s a very weird irony that the toxic effects of a nuclear explosion has inadvertently resulted in a triumph for Mother Nature. Eerie, suspenseful and even beautiful, this film was a testament to that fact. Too bad the title kept making us think of the sorts of pets Mr Burns might unleash on trespassers, though.