Nature Boy on DVD

Monday, 25 April 2016 23:00 Written by 

Nature Boy - out now on DVDNature Boy is a marvellous mini-series starring Lee Ingleby (The A Word, The Five) as David, a free-spirited and restless 17-year old who was taken into care as a young boy and is now desperate to track down his father. David has a special affinity with the natural world that makes him unique; it also puts him on a collision course with companies that wish to despoil the land for commercial gain.

The excellent cast also includes Paul McGann (“Withnail & I”, Doctor Who) as David’s absent father, Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, “Filth”) as Jenny, a driven environmental campaigner who takes a shine to David, and Vicky Binns (Coronation Street, Emmerdale) as a wayward teen also taken in by David’s carers. The series was directed by BAFTA winner Joe Wright (“Atonement”) and written by Bryan Elsley (Skins).

Nature Boy is a mature, hard-hitting drama that also feels like an adult relative of classic children’s series from the 1970s and 1980s. This is thanks in no small part to Ingleby’s beautifully natural, angelic portrayal of David, and the character’s coming-of-age adventures.

Each of the four episodes is almost self-contained, with David’s search for his dad acting as an arc. The lad’s independence and survival skills mean he is very comfortable living rough in the wild, but this does not prevent him from getting into some extremely dangerous and fraught situations.

As well as featuring some very down-to-earth storylines, the drama also has quite a dreamy quality. David regularly recalls the fun times he shared with his father, and these memories or visions blend into current-day events seamlessly, drawing us into his world and leaving us slightly unsure as to exactly what is real and what is not. In a way he wants to revisit his idyllic past, but the stark present has a tendency to jolt him back into reality.

I found Nature Boy utterly enthralling and haunting. It is a superb production that stirs all sorts of emotions and raises a number of environmental issues without being too preachy or one-sided. Quite simply the series is the best thing I have had the pleasure of reviewing in many years and it fully deserves its 2001 Royal Television Society award for Best Drama Serial.

Sadly there are no special features. Some kind of retrospective could have been interesting.

Nature Boy (2000) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Simply Media. The two-disc set has a running time of 240 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £24.99, or less from


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