All you ever wanted to know about Outback cooking but were too afraid to ask…
Did you know the traditional way to break a water File snake's spine is to put its entire head in your mouth and bite at the neck?

Or are you aware that frill-necked lizards have a tail which can slap you if you approach them the wrong way?

Despite the fact most of us may never wish to dine on sea snake or go near a frill neck, watching Malcolm Douglas doing so on television makes really wonderful Entertainment.

Douglas, who found celebrity status more than 10 years ago with his now classic documentary. Across the Top, revisits the spots featured in the original for his first in a series of specials for Channel 9 this Sunday night on Our World.

Titled Across The Top Again With Malcolm Douglas, the documentary retraces his original trip from Arnhem Land to the west Buffalo plains, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Cape York Peninsula, Sunday's program is interspersed with original footage from this trip.

Douglas revisits the Aboriginal settlement where he and his mate David Oldmeadow spent a year after ditching their jobs as stock and station agents in 1964. Here, Douglas goes hunting for the sea snakes with his friends. He later dines on the serpents at their bush camp. He joins the Aboriginal women on their daily search for tortoise in the drying mud fiats and eats wild duck with the feathers still on.

Douglas's diet is not what most of us would regard as palatable. He tucks into the snake, wild duck and tortoise. Then he quaffs a drink made of squashed ants nests. He also eats water lily pods.

Most people would feel sick at the thought of devouring these so-called delicacies, But Douglas says that bush tucker such as this can mean the difference between life and death when you're starving.

But surely it would be more agreeable to be stranded by one of the remote Northen Territory rivers visited in Sunday night's special. Douglas catches so much barramundi that he ends up letting half the fish go. Like the ABC's excellent Bush Tuckerman series last year, the Douglas specials are both informative and educational. But Sunday's special, like all Douglas documentaries, carries a subtle conservation message. One example is a shot of the Barrier Reef's main shipping channel. It is seen to be polluted by hundreds of kilometers of garbage. Douglas never preaches and says he makes his documentaries as entertainment.

The outback adventure series by Albie Mangels may have set hearts on tire with shots of tight shorts and buxom blondes. Douglas doesn't do this. He lets the beauty of the outback please the eye while the factual but lighthearted narration feeds the mind.