The End of the World with Beanz review: Charisma aside, this sustainability hodgepodge doesn’t work

Television: Martin Beanz Warde deserves his own series but this is not it

It’s about time RTÉ gave Martin Beanz Warde his own TV series. He has had success as a comedian and writer and speaks passionately and articulately on behalf of the Traveller community (it sadly goes without saying that Travellers are shamefully under-represented on the airwaves). What a pity, then, the broadcaster couldn’t provide a better platform than The End of the World with Beanz (RTÉ One, Tuesday, 7pm), a well-intentioned but muddled unpacking of the climate crisis.

The big idea is that Warde is “jumping head first” into the “sustainability and climate action challenges facing Ireland today”. But that mission falls by the wayside in episode one of six. It begins with Warde travelling to the “Zone to Defend” hippy commune in France, where activist Jay talks to Warde about “defending the world against capitalism”.

Warde, accompanied by comedian Emma Doran, is curious about commune life. He rubs along well with Jay and colleagues. Doran, by contrast, isn’t so sure how she’d get on living cheek-by-jowl with the Zad-heads (from zone à défendre). She gets stressed interacting with her neighbourhood WhatsApp group.

It’s fascinating to see these campaigners incorporating the beliefs into their lives. Yet it is unclear how their lifestyle relates to viewers’ daily experiences at home. This really is a jump off the deep end. If you hoped Warde might start slowly – perhaps demystifying the deposit return scheme or providing pointers on sustainable tourism – prepare to be disappointed.


Warde flew to France and travelled to the Zad by car, having met Doran at a nearby train station.

In a statement, RTÉ said, “The ability to tell this broad mix of stories could simply not happen without international travel”.

It added that “the production’s own carbon footprint was minimal” and was in compliance with “the internationally recognised TV & Film Production environmental sustainability programme Albert” [which describes itself as “an environmental organisation aiming to encourage the TV and film production industry to reduce waste and its carbon footprint”].

“We offset the carbon emissions with Ecologi [a UK-based “platform for climate action”], as advised by Albert,” continued the statement. “In this case, it went to generating renewable wind energy in Brazil.”

That is hugely admirable. Still, it would have been useful to see these measures referenced on screen. If nothing else, it might have helped alleviate concerns that the show was not practising what it preached.

The biggest flaw with the episode was a lack of coherence. Back from France, Warde visits a zero-waste food shop in Cavan, where customers bring their own packaging and boxes. Now, this does have practical relevance – but how does it tie in with the Zad commune?

Finally, Ward goes for a stroll with chef and forager JP McMahon, who harvests seaweed. But the sequence is undermined when Warde reveals in voiceover that seaweed is “an acquired taste ... one I don’t see myself acquiring any time soon”. If the experience was so disagreeable, why not simply cut it from the broadcast?

The climate crisis is (obviously) very real. Moreover, with our sprawling suburbs and reliance on cars, Ireland faces a greater challenge than other European countries, where they’ve embraced such radical concepts as reliable and efficient public transport.

Alas, the End of the World doesn’t get into any of that. It instead serves up a hodgepodge of ideas tangential to global warming. Warde is charismatic throughout. He is an empathetic and thoughtful interviewer skilled at getting his subjects to open up. However, as a beginner’s guide to the climate crisis and how we can do our bit for sustainability, The End of the World never gets off the starting grid.