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