Hard to credit it now, I know, but that first pilot of what became Small Woodland Creatures On Ice did point the way to the future of television.
In an age when even the most sautéed couch potato was growing weary of the vainglorious and talentless gawps that infested the reality shows, and the self-obsessed vacuity of those that the media proclaimed as 'celebrities' it seemed - for a while that the TV schedules would never recover from their doldrums.
However, one day a TV executive - filling time in his office in a gap between lunches - noticed that despite being so unfashionable, nature documentaries still managed to pull in respectable viewing figures. Burt without the - then essential - need for audience participation and the income from telephone voting, it seemed that nature documentaries would not survive in the cut-throat (and rather self-destructively stupid) world of modern multi-channel TV.
So, at first they tried Strictly Ballroom Badgers, but there were some badgers which did not have the necessary terpsichorean abilities to perform a solo dance routine to even the mediocre standard necessary to enthral an early evening TV audience enough for those viewers to start making the necessary lucrative phone calls to the TV station. Therefore, it was the fortunate discovery of the natural exuberance and innate ice-skating talent of water voles and other similar woodland rodents which managed to transform Small Woodland Creatures On Ice into the ratings success it is today with the format now sold to over 2 other countries.