New Series Premieres Monday 3rd March at 6:30pm

This week sees the return of the documentary series following daily life at Britain’s biggest zoo.

Chester Zoo is home to 7,000 animals from 400 species and is visited by more than a million people each year. The zoo has some of the most experienced keepers in the business, working alongside a full-time veterinary team with a fully equipped animal hospital on site.

From day to day, vets Steve Unwin and James Chatterton never know what to expect. They may be called upon to anaesthetise an Indonesian babirusa pig so that he can have his tusks trimmed, or they may have to operate on dangerous and cunning mandrills. It is all in a day’s work for the vets and veterinary nurses based at the zoo’s Animal Health Centre – who sometimes admit to knowing more about the animals in their care than members of their own family. The series is narrated by actress Jane Horrocks.

In the opening episode of the series on Monday, Tejas, one of the rarest lion cubs in the world, is having trouble walking properly. Vets have discovered that he has a problem with his tendons and he has been fitted with splints. Today, veterinary nurses Karen Homer and Tanya Curnow come to remove the splints. If there is no improvement in his condition, the two-month-old cub will face major surgery. Tejas is one of only nine Asiatic lion cubs in the whole of Europe, with only 250 animals remaining in the whole world. The Chester Zoo staff, therefore, are desperate to see their brave little cub make a full recovery.

Head Keeper Tim Rowlands turns dentist in Tuesday’s instalment, as he uses cheese wire to trim the tusks of a babirusa pig. There is a new arrival in the form of a young South American tapir, whilst some baby-faced baddies from the lemur family make their departure from the zoo.

On Wednesday, the head keeper of the zoo’s flamingos, Wayne McLeod, is involved in a dramatic race against the clock to get his birds safely inside their new winter home before they fall victim to the twin threat of freezing temperatures and prowling foxes.

Vet Steve Unwin has to keep his wits about him while operating on a new and dangerous patient in Thursday’s edition. Mandrills are the world’s largest species of monkey. They are famous for their big teeth and sense of cunning – they have even been known to fake being asleep. Can Steve complete the operation safely? Plus, the zoo’s extraordinary baby pandas come out to play.

On Friday, the Head Keeper of Elephants, Mick Jones, moves heaven and four tonnes of earth to give his favourite elephant, Sheba, a comfy bed for the night. Sheba is the matriarch of the ten-strong Chester herd of Asian elephants and she has not been sleeping well of late. Can Mick put things right?

Monday 3rd March to Friday 7th March at 6:30pm on five

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1