Channel 4’s documentary series The Secret Life of the Zoo has been featuring the antics of Chester Zoo’s furry, winged, aquatic and slimy creatures since 2016.


Over nine seasons – and a compilation series of some of the best moments that was first shown in 2020 – the series has focused on the behaviour of the animals at the zoo, and their relationships with the keepers who look after them.

Originally narrated by Olivia Colman (for the first five seasons) and now featuring Tamsin Greig, the series is currently available to watch on All4. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the popular documentary series, and how you can pay your own visit to the famous zoo where it is filmed.

Where is The Secret Life of the Zoo filmed?

The penguins, elephants, meerkats, chimps, flamingos and all the other animals that have become the stars of The Secret Life of the Zoo live at Chester Zoo in the North West of England.

Small cameras are set up around the zoo to film the animals and they are hidden as discreetly as possible to enable the production team from Blast! Films to capture footage without the animals being disturbed.

More like this

Blast! Head of programmes Nick Hornby told Broadcast magazine in 2016 when the series launched: “We wanted the animals to be the protagonists and to be able to tell the story from their perspective, which meant not having the bars of cages in shot.”

Those cameras have captured many memorable moments over the past five years, including the arrival of giant otter couple Icana and Tarubu’s new pups, the great escape of four Sumatran orangutans from their new enclosure, and a penguin romance.

How to visit Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo was originally opened 80 years ago, in 1931, and is one of the UK’s largest zoos.

The zoo, which was the most visited wildlife attraction in Britain in 2019 with more than two million visitors, is situated in Upton-by-Chester in Cheshire, close to the city of Chester and the M53 and M56.

Home to more than 70 species of mammals, 155 species of birds and more than 9000 animals in total, Chester Zoo features numerous attractions including a chimpanzee breeding centre, a rhino reserve, a tropical realm and an aquarium.

You can find more information on how to get to the zoo, opening times and admission prices, as well as special events at


All episodes of The Secret Life of the Zoo are available to watch on All4 now. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.