Charming series from BBC One

From BBC One comes this utterly charming six-part series Our Zoo based on the true story of how an ordinary family established Chester Zoo in the 1930s.

Written by Matt Charman and directed by Andy De Emmony, it tells of George Mottershead, his dreams of creating a cage-free zoo, his family and how their lives changed when they embarked in the creation of Chester Zoo

Lee Ingleby (best known as DS John Bacchus in Sixties police drama Inspector George Gently) is perfectly cast as George Mottershead, a charismatic man with a passion for the animal kingdom, whose experience of suffering in the Great War inspired him to open a zoo without bars.

Against all odds, he and his family transformed a ramshackle old property into a unique institution that changed forever the way zoos keep animals.

Funny, heartfelt and dramatic, Our Zoo is an exhilarating tale about one family’s struggle to build a new life for themselves and all the creatures, great and small.


It’s winningly warm, with heaps of charm, lump-in-throat moments and adorable wildlife.

The supporting cast – especially Anne Reid as George’s battleaxe mother and Liz White as his loyal wife – are excellent, while Sophia Myles adds a dash of Downton-esque class (and potential love interest) as a supportive lady of the manor.

After watching this series, you should watch Cameron Crowe’s delightful film We Bought a Zoo, with Matt Damon as a struggling single-dad who decides his family needs a fresh start so he moves them to a run-down zoo with a herd of needy exotic animals.

The bonus features of Our Zoo include an information making of featurette with lively interviews.