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With over 38,000 photos and counting! More Photos
Our Zoo

Our Zoo

Sophia Myles is playing Lady Katherine Longmore
(Series regular: Yes)

The drama follows George’s inspiring and challenging journey as he moves his wife, two young daughters and parents – along with a monkey and a parrot – into a draughty old stately home. With a derelict plot of land, mounting debts, no resources or manpower and a concerted campaign from the local villagers to halt George’s plans entirely. It’s a race against time for the Mottersheads to build and open their zoo before the harsh winter sets in – or the bailiffs arrive.

Main Details

Created by: Matt Charman & Adam Kemp
Based Upon: the inspiring real story of the Mottershead family who established Chester Zoo in the 1930s
Genre: Drama
Filming Locations: Walton Hall Park, Warrington, Cheshire, England, UK
Runtime: 60 minutes per episode
Rating UK: PG / US:
Premiered on TV UK: September 3, 2014 on BBC One / US: TBA on
DVD Release UK: October 27, 2014 / US: TBA


Main Cast

Lee Ingleby as George Mottershead
Liz White as Lizzie Mottershead
Anne Reid as Lucy Mottershead
Peter Wight as Albert Mottershead
Amelia Clarkson as Muriel ‘Mew’ Mottershead
Honor Kneafsey as June Mottershead
Ralf Little as Billy Atkinson
Sophia Myles as Lady Katherine Longmore
Stephen Campbell-Moore as Reverend Aaron Webb

Links




Episodes featuring Sophia Myles


Episode 1 (Aired on September 3, 2014)
Directed by Andy de Emmony
Written by Matt Charman
Additional Episode Cast

Tom Hardman as Archie Radler
Hayley Carmichael as Camilla Radler
Jonathan Cullen as Frenchwood
Parry Glasspool as Christopher
Karl Collins as Barlow
Rose Reynolds as Alice
Richard Bremmer as Casper Butterfield
Gary Davis as Mr Pollard
Sally Bankes as Mrs Pollard
Steve Cooper as Mr Fowler
Hugh Simon as Auctioneer
Elizabeth Rider as Celia


Synopsis

Frustrated by living with his wife and two daughters under his parents’ roof and tormented by his war trauma, George decides to change his life and put a bit of beauty back into the world.
Haunted by memories of combat in the Great War, he now finds himself living with his wife and two daughters in his parents’ cramped home above the family grocery store. While delivering goods by the docks one day, he spots an unwanted squirrel monkey and a camel about to be put down in the quarantine bay. George can’t bear to let them suffer so takes them both home to his parents’ backyard instead – much to the family’s bewilderment.

His family sees this as further evidence that he’s losing his mind, but George is busy making plans that will change their lives forever. On the way to an army reunion he comes across a rundown stately home, Oakfield, surrounded by acres of land, and he formulates the idea of buying it and building around it the first British zoo without bars.

Against the odds he persuades the bank to lend him the money to buy Oakfield. But once George has persuaded his sceptical family to move into their new ramshackle house, the whole family faces the tough task of convincing the genteel and hard-to-please villagers to accept them as neighbours. George thinks it best to keep the zoo plans secret, which becomes difficult when Mortimer the monkey escapes into the village.

Episode 2 (Aired on September 10, 2014)
Directed by Andy de Emmony
Written by Matt Charman
Additional Episode Cast

Tom Hardman as Archie Radler
Karl Collins as Barlow
Hugh Skinner as Dr. Barnaby Ford
Steve Cooper as Mr Fowler
Simon Lowe as Gascoigne
Jason Watkins as Ronald Tipping
Faye Brookes as Frankie
Nigel Betts as Ted Lacey
Gary Davis as John Pollard
Jessica Ransom as Polly Ford


Synopsis

Against their family’s wishes George and Billy attempt to coax two malnourished bears out of a cave in Matlock, before abandoning Lizzie to start work on the zoo.

With the zoo expanding beyond their control and Lucy proving obstinate, Lizzie takes matters into her own hands.

In Upton, Reverend Webb conspires to find out what George is up to.

Episode 3 (Aired on September 17, 2014)
Directed by Andy de Emmony
Written by George Kay
Additional Episode Cast

Tom Hardman as Archie Radler
Richard Ridings as Henning
Jessica Ransom as Mrs Ford
Jason Watkins as Ronald Tipping
Gary Davis as Mr Pollard
Sally Bankes as Mrs Pollard
Faye Brookes as Frankie
Hayley Carmichael as Camilla Radler
Steve Cooper as Ernest Fowler
Hugh Skinner as Barnaby Ford
Simon Lowe as Gascoigne
June Williams as Mrs Hogg


Synopsis

The family nurse Eve the bear back to health as the local residents grow more hostile towards the zoo.

The zoo continues to expand beyond the family’s means, forcing George to deploy all of his charm and persuade a local journalist of its unique worth.

While George’s proclamations fall on deaf ears, Billy brings home a surprise that could turn things around.

Episode 4 (Aired on September 24, 2014)
Directed by Robert Mckillop
Written by Matt Charman
Additional Episode Cast

Celia Imrie as Lady Daphne Goodwin
Hayley Carmichael as Camilla Radler
Tom Hardman as Archie Radler
Alice Orr-Ewing as Lady Hughes
Jonathan Cullen as Frenchwood
Sally Bankes as Mrs Pollard
Hugh Skinner as Dr Barnaby Ford
Jessica Ransom as Mrs Ford
Faye Brookes as Frankie
John Draycott as Janitor
Shari Fox as Secretary


Synopsis

When Adam the bear escapes, George is badly injured in the process of retrieving him.

Dr Ford treats his injuries, but June is disturbed to learn how close her father was to death.

In urgent need of funds to secure the bears, and with no help from the bank, George decides to organise a benefit at Selborne Hall.

Episode 5 (Aired on October 1, 2014)
Directed by Robert Mckillop
Written by Matt Charman
Additional Episode Cast

Hayley Carmichael as Camilla Radler
Tom Hardman as Archie Radlery
Jason Watkins as Ronald Tipping
Matt Sutton as Sidney Kane
Jack Fox as Aldous Whittleington-Smith
James Wilby as Sir Arthur Addison
Faye Brookes as Frankie
Hugh Skinner as Barnaby Ford
Peter Slater as Land Agent
Shari Fox as Secretary


Synopsis

Planning permission for the zoo is denied, destroying George’s dream and threatening to tear the family apart.

However, Lady Katherine’s connections in Whitehall give the family a lifeline. She and George embark on a trip to London to convince the Deputy Minister of Health to grant an appeal, while the family deal with a shocking new arrival at Oakfield.

Episode 6 (Aired on October 8, 2014)
Directed by Saul Metzstein
Written by Matt Charman
Additional Episode Cast

Jonathan Cullen as Frenchwood
Tom Hardman as Archie Radler
Guy Henry as Keene
Gary Davis as Mr Pollard
Jason Watkins as Ronald Tipping
Sally Bankes as Mrs Pollard
Steve Cooper as Mr Fowler
Hugh Skinner as Dr Barnaby Ford
Jessica Ransom as Mrs Ford
Sam Burles as Norman
Faye Brookes as Frankie
Charlie Langdell as Gail
Jason Done as Kelly
Hayley Carmichael as Camilla Radler
Isobel Steele as Barbara
Aisling Jarrett-Gavin as Harriet


Synopsis

A visiting inspector from the Ministry of Health, who could overturn the council’s decision to ban the zoo, represents the family’s last hope.

When the aviary nets are slashed George begins to lose both his grip and his self-control. Concerned that he might throw away their last chance to save the zoo, Lizzie reaches out for legal help, but it comes at a cost.

Emotions are running high at the hearing, when a secret is revealed which could tip the balance. An inspection of the zoo is held, but the final decision could take weeks – can the family hang on, and is there life after Oakfield?


Sophia's Role

Lady Katherine is an exotic misfit in Upton. A well-travelled woman, adventurous and charming, but living almost as a recluse after running from a scandalous event abroad. Her fascination with George’s grand design makes her a powerful muse to him. At times she understands what he’s trying to build better than his own wife. She breezes into the life of the Mottersheads, intriguing Mew and causing tension between George & Lizzie.


Trivia


  • Due to being pregnant at the time of filming, Sophia had a goat ‘fired’ as she had read that lactating female goats can be quite dangerous to pregnant women.
  • All animals were provided and handled by Amazing Animals/Heythrop Zoological Gardens
  • The main penguins are played by Humboldt penguins, Charlie and Ferrari. The pair are part of a breeding group of 10 penguins kept at Heythrop Zoological Gardens in a purpose-built enclosure.
  • Baby penguin Mojo hatched through filming on 29th April 2014
  • Sydney is played by the Bactrian camel, ‘Darhan’. He is an experienced film animal. He has a particularly placid nature and enjoys the extra attention. He is trained to be ridden.
  • Mortimer is played by the two black-capped squirrel monkeys, ‘Mitch’ and ‘Malcolm’. They are virtually identical in looks. Mitch has always been very steady and the best for staying still in shot. This meant he generally took centre stage. Malcolm, being the far more energetic of the two, acted more like his stunt double. Malcolm performed most of the more complicated behaviours
  • Dennis, the Asian black bear, played the parts of both Adam and Eve.

Quotes from Sophia

I’m kind of like the only posh person in it really. I play a character called Lady Katherine who has been in Kenya for the past three years leading up to the story taking place and she has kind of got herself into a bit of trouble over there so she has been banished from society. She is effectively taking refuge at her Uncle’s house in Chester which happens to be next door to the site where this family decide to set up this zoo and she becomes a very active part of helping them facilitate their dream.


Quotes from Reviews

The Telegraph

Sophia Myles added a dash of Downton-esque class (and potential love interest) as a supportive lady of the manor.

Burton Mail

Our Zoo is wonderfully written, well-acted and has been superbly directed and produced. A breath of fresh air from start to finish.

This page was last modified on: March 12, 2016