Narrative In Wildlife Program: The Crocodile Hunter

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Narrative in wildlife program - The Crocodile Hunter

“I reckon that’s a big one.” I whispered with glee while skipping on a treacherous trail I created with sofa pillows, staring intently at an imaginary crocodile. “Crikey!” I shouted as the imaginary crocodile leapt at me with wide-open jaws. Without any hesitation, I jumped on it and wrestled it as though my life depended on it. After minutes of wild trashing, I emerged victorious, subduing the ferocious crocodile with my bare hands. “That was close!” I ended the fight with a wide grin. With my loud enthusiastic comments and recognisable catchphrase, I was imitating my favourite wildlife explorer - Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter. Growing up, I had always love watching animal documentaries,
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He produced many documentaries on animals, with the most famous one being The Crocodile Hunter. At first glance, narrative theory might not seem to have much in common with wildlife programs. However, I believe that there is a narrative structure within such wildlife documentaries. For this paper, I will be looking at The Crocodile Hunter as an example to show that various components of narrative can be discovered in this series.

In almost every episode of The Crocodile Hunter, we see that the first scene is usually a wide-angle shot of scenery that is unique to the location of that episode. The camera then pans out and other features of the location are shown. Simultaneously, in the background, we can hear Steve Irwin narrating background information about the country and give a short story related to the episode. From a mere one-minute opening, we can observe some components of narrative: a setting, a first-person narrator, and a minor narration within a major
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Since he is involved in the narrative, he would be classified as a first-person narrator. However, it may be argued that he has control over the plot, as he is the one that decides where to investigate and whether to trap an animal. Therefore, he could also be considered as a second-person narrator, existing both inside and outside of the narrative. One of the problems with a first-person narrator is reliability as the first-person is seen as a human and is therefore fallible. A first-person narrator may also leave out information either purposefully or unknowingly. However, such a problem is minimal in wildlife documentaries as a visual is constantly provided and thus the viewers have an objective description - the visuals.

After narrating in the opening of Journey to the Red Center, we see Irwin driving up to the camera in a dune buggy and proceeds to animatedly tell a story about the conservation of deserts and his personal thoughts. This can be seen as a smaller narration within the larger narration. We can also see how this story is linked to the episode and also to his role in society as a

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