Channel 4’s fly on the wall documentary about the animals of Chester Zoo is proving a huge hit with TV audiences across the country.
More than 2.5m viewers tuned in to The Secret Life of the Zoo this week to catch an exclusive glimpse of some of the zoo’s 20,000 animals and their relationship with the 86 keepers.
Billed as ‘an animal version of Big Brother’ due to the often-amusing similarities between humans and animals, the series - which was filmed over a timespan of 10 months - has introduced some very popular characters to audiences each week.
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These include a pair of bossy red pandas who zoo staff likened to a henpecked husband and wife, a cheeky young elephant who showed naughty toddler tendencies and a cheeky chimpanzee to name a few.
Keeper Kirsten was quoted in the show saying: “The more time I spend working with animals, the more it teaches me about humans.”
And a video captured at the zoo this week by Chronicle staff member Sallie Ehlen of two lions acting like a scolding father having words with his children, is a prime example of how human-like animals can be.
The six-part series has been made using a range of filming techniques to capture animals’ behaviour in intimate detail. Next Tuesday’s episode promises the tigers moving house, a tarantula risking his life to mate and orphan bears arriving at the zoo.
Viewers have been quick to praise the programme for the ‘amazing’ work done by staff at the zoo and local fans spoke of their pride at having Chester Zoo on their doorstep.
One viewer tweeted: “Secret Life of the Zoo is cheering me up no end’, another described the programme as ‘fabulous’.
The programme is doing a good job to fill the void left by 2014’s hugely popular BBC drama Our Zoo, which told the story of how George Mottershead founded Chester Zoo in 1931.