Wild at Home: nat­u­ral his­tory TV, books, puz­zles and more

Jonathan and An­gela Scott launch the next chap­ter in the Big Cat brand.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Contents - SM

BIG CAT TALES AN­I­MAL PLANET, FIVE PARTS, STARTS OC­TO­BER

Peo­ple never tire of watch­ing big cats. Tes­ta­ment to this was Big Cat Diary – and later in­car­na­tions Big Cat Week and Live – the much-loved and lon­grun­ning BBC se­ries that from 19962008 of­fered a jeep’s-eye view onto the plains of Kenya’s Maa­sai Mara.

A decade since the for­mat was re­tired by the BBC, the cats are back in a new se­ries for An­i­mal Planet, fronted once again by ‘Big Cat Peo­ple’ Jonathan and An­gela Scott. “An­i­mal sto­ries are still at the heart of the pro­grammes, but this is not a re­peat of Big Cat Diary,” says Jonathan. “Tales also re­flects our lives on sa­fari, do­ing what we’ve done since mov­ing to the Mara in 1977, with in­put from our co-pre­sen­ter Jack­son Looseyia about what it is to be a Maa­sai.”

Of the fresh fe­line faces in Tales, many de­scend from those that be­came house­hold names in the Big Cat hey­day. “Bahiti the leop­ard is grand­daugh­ter of Bella, a Diary leg­end; Ma­lika the chee­tah is likely re­lated to Kike, the car-jump­ing fe­male that pooped on me in 2003; and of course there’s the Marsh Pride,” says Jonathan. “But there are al­ways new char­ac­ters to fea­ture – the for­mat al­lows us to pick up sto­ries in­stantly.”

Ex­pect emo­tive fam­ily dy­nam­ics, spec­tac­u­lar river cross­ings and epic chases (ar­guably the se­ries’ high­light is a hunt by an un­usu­ally large coali­tion of chee­tahs known as the Five Chee­tah Boys), as well as an in­sight into the pres­sures fac­ing one of Africa’s most fa­mous reserves.

“These an­i­mals have been our life­long ob­ses­sion – they are like old friends – but as we ap­proach our seven­ties, we are look­ing to pass the ba­ton on to the next gen­er­a­tion of Kenyans,” says Jonathan. “We want to in­spire con­ser­va­tion­ists long af­ter we have de­parted this world.”

Big Cat Tales of­fers a win­dow into the lives of the lions, leop­ards and chee­tahs of the Maa­sai Mara.

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