Our Zoo is a brand-new TV drama series based around the real life story of the Mottershead family, who back in the 1930’s, established the uniquely designed Chester Zoo.
Haunted by his traumatic memories of the Great War and frustrated from still living with his wife and daughters in his parents home, ex-serviceman George Mottershead decides to follow his dream of building the first zoo in Britain without bars.
Running for six episodes, it’s now been confirmed that Our Zoo will start airing at 9:00pm on Wednesday 3 September, 2014 on BBC One.
Lead Cast List
Character – Actor/Actress
Lizzie Mottershead – Liz White (From There to Here, Life On Mars)
Muriel ‘Mew’ Mottershead – Amelia Clarkson (All Stars, Jane Eyre)
June Mottershead – Honor Kneafsey
Albert Mottershead – Peter Wight (The Paradise)
Lady Katherine Longmore – Sophia Myles (Spooks, Underworld)
Billy Atkinson – Ralph Little (Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, The Royle Family)
Reverend Aaron Webb – Stephen Campbell-Moore (The History Boys)
View the full Our Zoo cast list.
Where was the Our Zoo TV series filmed for BBC?
Filming locations used during the period-dramas production include Walton Hall country house in Warrington, Cheshire and Abney Hall in Cheadle, Greater Manchester.
Here’s a special behind the scenes look at the making of Our Zoo:
BBC/Big Talk Productions Lee Ingleby Interview
How would you describe Our Zoo?
“It’s the story of a man who decides – through a series of events to open a zoo. He takes pity on some animals that he sees at the Liverpool docks whether they’re going to be mistreated or put down – he buys them and then realises that he’s got a camel, a monkey and a parrot – and one thing leads to another. He starts to think about things and he sees this house, Oakfield House, at a sale at an auction and he starts to get these ideas in his head of “oh maybe I could open a zoo”. But he’s very passionate about a zoo which doesn’t inhibit animals because of what he saw during his time in the first war – not just with the people, but with the horses and the animals that were involved in the war in the trenches and stuff; he’s seen fear in animals and he doesn’t want to see that again. So he sets about this idea of creating a space for these mistreated animals and giving them as much freedom as he possibly can. Obviously there has to be some sort of barrier, but he has to create natural barriers and so he wants to let these animals breath and live and also for people to see them as well.”
What has it been like working with animals?
“The animal handlers are great. They give the animal all the time. We’ve got to work around the animal, not around us. We give it all the space and the time it needs because they have to be happy. Mortimer the monkey was great to play alongside.”
What’s it like working with the other cast members?
“I’ve worked with Liz before who plays my wife and I’ve also worked with Peter and Anne who play my father and mother which always helps. So I knew them straight away and they’re just lovely people to work with. And then coupled with the kids – it’s like we’ve become a little family. We’re very protective of each other so it’s lovely. From the word go we really we just found each other’s rhythms really easily and just clicked. It’s lovely really, we have fun doing it.”