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Written & Created by
Andy De Emmony, Robert McKillop (Ep 5),
Saul Metzstein (Ep 6)
Luke Alkin, Kenton Allen & Matthew Justice
Lee Ingleby, Liz White, Ralf Little, Stephen Campbell Moore, Sophia Myles, Amelia Clarkson, Honor Kneafsey with Peter Wight and Anne Reid
Episodes / Duration
6 x 60 mins
OUR ZOO is based on the remarkable true story of the Mottershead family who, despite staunch opposition and huge personal sacrifice, founded Chester Zoo in the 1930s.
The series follows George as he moves his entire family – wife Lizzie, daughters Mew and June and his parents Lucy and Albert along with a monkey and a camel – into Oakfield House, a crumbling stately home he can’t afford. With a derelict plot of land, mounting debts, no resources or manpower, the family must unite to overcome the seemingly impossible or their dreams will be over before they’ve even began.
The family also soon discover they face a formidable battle on another front – with the local community. The upstanding people of Upton become convinced that untamed beasts – not just escaped animals from the zoo but also working class visitors from Liverpool – will start wandering their genteel streets. Led clandestinely by the local vicar, Reverend Aaron Webb, they influence the local council into turning down planning permission for the zoo.
It’s a race against time for the family to build the zoo before the harsh winter sets in and secure the council’s permission to open to the public before the bank forecloses them.
Warm and funny but also heartfelt and dramatic, Our Zoo is about a tough struggle for survival for a family driven to the edge by one man’s obsessive pursuit of his dream. There is grit, genuine drama and a wonderful cast of characters – both human and animal – in this extraordinary true story. It’s a series with something for everyone.
“Drama that has everything BBC One could possibly want – charming characters, cuddly animals and courage and kindness in the face of adversity”
“Handsomely shot and the cast is excellent. It’s a fitting tribute to one man’s remarkable vision”
“A hit from the very first frame”
(The Daily Express)