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As many of you are aware, I have been working on a groundbreaking TV show called Leigh Hart's Mysterious Planet, in which I travel the world solving its greatest mysteries.

The programme is in post-production and is going very well. Bigfoot is already in the can, as is our in-depth investigation into the UFO crash at Roswell.

What follows are some excerpts from my director's diary, taken while shooting the Loch Ness Monster episode in Scotland. They are brief notes but I think you can get an insight into what goes into a programme like this.

Day one: The Mysterious Planet team arrives at Loch Ness to begin investigation. Weather and conditions are perfect for "Nessie" hunting.


Day one (afternoon): "The Nessie Hunter" - our vessel for the investigation - has been double booked, meaning we are unable to get out on to the water until a primary school expedition from Inverness has finished using it. This won't be until the following Thursday.

Day two: Another setback! An administrative error has meant that all our hi-tech sonar and underwater tracking equipment has accidentally been sent to the pyramids in Egypt; conversely all our sandrovers built specifically for the later Pyramids episode arrive on time at the shores of Loch Ness.

Day three: We meet Scottish cryptozoologist Graham Cosbee. He is to join the expedition as a consultant.

Days four to 11: Spent in local taverns interviewing witnesses. Some of this is productive but much of it isn't and it could be argued that a couple of the crew went a little off the rails during this period.

We are forced to spend a good deal of the production budget on beer and Scots whisky to get people to talk to us. A cryptozoologist must have an open mind at all times, but it is very difficult to do this when you have a cracking hangover. We begin to see the first signs that everything is not well in Graham's personal life. Graham is on the phone to his partner in Edinburgh, repeatedly trying to patch up his relationship. It is a well-known fact that cryptozoologists have a less than ideal track record on the marriage front, and Graham knew the risks when he got involved. Investigations that seldom ever get any results can take their toll on the cryptozoologist and those close to them. I try to reassure Graham that anything worthwhile is worth sticking with.

Day 12: Finally, we are able to get on to the Loch for the first time. George, our skipper, is very experienced and has seen the beast a number of times and he takes us to the hotspots.

That afternoon, another setback. One of our less experienced cameramen throws a $25,000 camera overboard, thinking that it is one of the waterproof models. It records for a few seconds but the footage is hardly worth the expense.

We spend the rest of the day coming up with a believable story to tell the insurance company.


Day 13: Graham's relationship has taken a turn for the worse. His partner Jacinta is having a platonic relationship and, by the sounds, a very sexual one with an Edinburgh furniture upholsterer called Brian.

I waste a lot of valuable research time consoling Graham once he learns that Brian has moved into his house in Edinburgh. I convince him to stay with the team another couple of days.

Day 14: Nothing really happens.

Day 15: See above.

Day 16: Back out on the water at night, we dredge the water around the castle and snag something large! We eventually pull it aboard only to find it is a cable of some sort, so we cut it free, and by doing so accidentally cut off all the electricity to the south and west sides of the Loch.

Day 17: We interview legendary Loch Ness expert Adrian Shine. He adds a lot of much-needed credibility and factual information to the documentary.

Graham Cosbee, on the other hand, is unshaven and drinking heavily.

Day 22: After losing more hi-tech equipment overboard I catch the sonar team watching porn on the monitor designed to show images from the bottom of the Loch. It is a disappointing day all round.

Day 26: After a few more disaster-filled days I start to turn my focus to the Pyramids episode.

Day 27: Time to leave. While we are packing up the equipment and I am delivering my closing summary to camera, Graham Cosbee has a nervous breakdown and attacks me.

We escape in the Mysterious Planet rental car but not before Graham has thrown a tripod through the front windscreen.

We travel to Egypt.