Australia is a land of harsh, unforgiving terrain, and Steve Grahame is about to traverse more than 3500 kilometres of it, in what the narrator of Outback Truckers (7MATE, 9.30pm) informs us is the equivalent of driving from London to Cairo, although he doesn't add the obvious qualifier: ''but not as interesting''.

Indeed, for all the heavy guitar riffs and powerfully masculine voiceover, the biggest battle these truckers face is surely boredom - staying awake through thousands of miles of scrub and desert must be the greatest challenge. And likewise, for the producers the challenge is keeping the viewers awake. Dion Fisher must deliver some massive mining equipment to a mine in Dampier - 3218 kilometres away. It turns out the only way to transport it is by truck, which to be honest everyone probably saw coming. Uncertain whether trying to build suspense over how goods will be delivered on a show called Outback Truckers is really an effective strategy.

Elsewhere, Corey Chapman tries to build suspense by hinting that his road train might explode. We feel a vague thrill at the thought of the bush lighting up with the flames of three trailers full of petrol, but deep down we know it's not going to happen. It's that innate intuition that tells us that a show in which a man actually blows himself up probably wouldn't make it to air - certainly not in a show that five minutes before was trying to make us feel sorry for an elderly dog.

It's a curious show. It's of the ''other'' school of reality TV, the school that actually attempts to depict reality, rather than overblown game shows. In a way this is more noble, but in another way it's a massive effort to try to make real reality interesting enough for TV. Which this show really does strain sinew to do - phrases like ''race against the clock'', ''moment of truth'' and ''matter of life or death'' are thrown around with abandon and the hard rock turned up to eleven, but ultimately the moment of greatest drama is two men arguing over whether to single or double-loop a chain and the action doesn't get much more gripping than a man driving into a doorframe. In the end the camels are the real stars.

There's more thrills to be had on Planet Earth (GEM, 7.30pm), where we look at the birth of a mountain and travel to the peak of Everest. As you'd expect from a David Attenborough program, it's a visually stunning exploration of the natural world, calculated to make you feel a keen sense of your own tiny insignificance. And it shows that the reality of the planet can be compelling viewing, even without trucks driving around in it.