Planet Ustinov

Planet Ustinov“To who it may concern,
I must be mad – at my age – to embark on a journey like this. From Suva to Sydney; from the Kiribati islands to Cape Town (with a few Himalayan foothills in between). Totally mad. A century ago, Mark Twain had done the same – Following the Equator – and now I’m to follow in his faded footsteps. As a happy mongrel – with a British passport, and no British blood – I’m curious to know what makes other people belong; and to see how Twain’s world has changed.
They’ve told me it will be fun, and I believed them.
I must be mad.”

Pratap was Associate Producer of films 2 and 4.

If television is ‘dumbing down’ then no one has told Sir Peter. He remains substantial proof that it isn’t…The film was an antidote to the ‘have celeb will travel’ school of programme-making. Flying in the face of the seemingly widespread belief that travel programmes must be glamour-led, C4’s new four-part series replaced glitz and gloss with girth and gravitas…” James Rampton in The Independent on Sunday 29.11.98.

“This entertaining and illuminating four-parter is definitely a series to follow” The Daily Mail 23.11.98

“The politics is lightly worn, punctuated by the Ustinov repertoire of accents and funny accents, from a taxi horn to Scottish pipes” The Times

The Dog’s Tale

This series comprised 7 x 40minute films broadcast at 9.30pm on BBC2.

Pratap was principal director of Programme 2 Gods and Gladiators.

Review by Nancy Banks-Smith, The Guardian
The Dog’s Tale (BBC 2) showed three weak beams, crooks, cripples and mongrel curs, dovetailed into a triumphant triangle”. From the dog-headed gods of ancient Egypt to the sacred healing hounds of Mesopotamia, dogs have always been part of human ritual. Once a year in Italy for example, Christians extol the fidelity and obedience of dogs by awarding them their own religious festival. But, as this week’s programme in the series “The Dog’s Tale” shows, man’s best friend is also being dragged into an altogether bloodier ritual in Japan. Tosa dogs are 85lb. (38kg) of pure, in-bred muscle. Once the status symbol of Samurai warriors, they have now been adopted as fighting dogs by the Japanese yakuza – Japan’s gangster fraternity. When Nobuharu Hamano lost interest in pit bulls, he bought up a stable of 20 Tosas and 6 wolves. “We don’t fight ourselves,” he says, “our dogs fight for us instead. And we get rid of our stress by seeing the dog fight.”
The Dog’s Tale, Thursday 9.30pm BBC2.

“From God to Dog”, Pratap Rughani

‘Easing the pain’ by Pratap Rughani

The Dog’s Tale Radio Times review by Adam Sweeting