Martin Clunes continues his quest to explore the islands of Australia in the second instalment of this three-part documentary series for ITV.
With more than 8000 islands to choose from, Martin visits 16 that provide a fascinating insight into the diversity, history and challenges of island life in Australia.
Surrounded by the warm waters of the Arafura Sea, 16 miles off the Australian coast, lies one of the nation’s most exotic, colourful destinations. On the next leg of his journey Clunes travels to the heart of the tropical north to a destination known as the “the islands of smiles” – the Tiwi Islands.
More than three and a half thousand Tiwis live on the islands. They’ve been there for millennia, and they’re one of Australia’s most distinctive Aboriginal cultures. Thanks to their isolation from the mainland, the Tiwis have kept many ancient traditions alive. They treat their guest to a welcome of traditional yoi dancing to ensure he has only friendly spirits around him while he’s on the islands.
Clunes then joins a group of women as they teach young local girls how to forage through a mangrove swamp for bush tucker including longbum shells, mud mussels and mangrove worms. He also meets Tiwi artist Pedro Wonaeamirri, whose artwork sells internationally for thousands of dollars a piece. Pedro shows Martin how Tiwi art unites the traditional customs and the land itself.
But the Tiwi Islands have their modern face too. Australian Rules Football is an obsession there, and a third of islanders play it. It’s been an astonishing success story for young Tiwi boys, transforming some of them into national celebrities.
Martin Clunes: Islands of Australia – Tuesday 8.00pm on ITV.