New drama Our Zoo could run for decades

Lee Ingleby says he is keen to make more episodes of the drama in which he plays the real-life founder of Chester Zoo, George Mottershead

Our Zoo is BBC1’s new drama series based on the real-life story of the founding of Chester Zoo in the 1930s.


The show stars Lee Ingleby as George Mottershead, the greengrocer and animal lover who sacrificed everything to found the animal-friendly attraction in the 1930s.

And it seems that series one – which focuses on the struggles Mottershead and family had when setting the zoo up amid staunch opposition from the locals – may be the first of many.

The producers think the family-based saga could have legs to run and run across the decades with writer and co-creator Matt Charman developing ideas for taking the story to the Second World War and beyond, according to a senior production source.

Ingleby, whose animal loving character is partly motivated to found the zoo to help banish memories of the First World War, added that he is also keen to continue making the series.

He told “I can’t wait. If it went again I’d jump at it. Matt has the idea for a couple of series and if it went again, he knows where it’s going to go.

“They are going to try and keep to the real events that happened and when the Second World War happened they struggled again to make ends meet and keep open.”

A senior production source told : “Our Zoo’s blend of feelgood drama and the fact that the stories are so interesting and funny mean that it could go on for years. The story of what they had to do to stay open during the Second World War are amazing and hilarious.”


The drama also stars Liz White – star of BBC dramas Life on Mars and From There to Here – as George’s wife Lizzie with Last Tango in Halifax star Anne Reid playing George’s hostile mother Lucy.