Spy in the Wild – BBC1

Gorillas Spy in the Wild
(Image credit: BBC/John Downer Productions)

A troop of gorillas is among the animals intrigued by a state-of-the-art spy cam in a new series of Spy in the Wild on BBC1

Spy in the Wild on BBC1 returns for a second run, with more magical close-up footage of wildlife, courtesy of cameras hidden inside very realistic-looking animatronic creatures.

Narrated by David Tennant, in this first episode, themed around the Tropics, a troop of Ugandan mountain gorillas (pictured top) is intrigued by the arrival of a spy baby gorilla, a spy turtle lays spy eggs on a beach in Costa Rica, a spy bat infiltrates the roost of a fruit bat colony in northern Australia, and a spy jaguar cub captures rare footage of the elusive big cats in Brazil.

But since they routinely kill the cubs of other jaguars, will the cam survive to film another day? 

Creative director John Downer tells us more about some of the things they were able to film for episode one…

‘Everyone remembers Sir David Attenborough playing with mountain gorillas [in the 1970s], but these days you have to keep your distance,’ says John.

‘There’s real magic when the gorillas are introduced to Spy Gorilla.

‘It’s about what that interaction leads to.

‘The silverback [dominant male] discovered the other gorillas were interested, and took over, which tells you about the hierarchy.

‘And a youngster came up to play!’

Spy Jaguar Cub Spy in the Wild

Will Spy Jaguar Cub fool the real jaguars of Brazil in Spy in the Wild on BBC1?

But the jaguars in Brazil proved to be more elusive.

‘This was a long stakeout – you can be there for days, and not see a jaguar,’ says John.

‘When we got a tip-off of a sighting from the locals, we’d drive our speedboat right up onto the river bank, put Spy Jaguar Cub down, deploy it and wait.

‘Eventually there was this amazing moment when the jaguars suddenly appeared, and we captured some incredible shots of them exploring Spy Jaguar Cub and sharing a romantic moment.

‘It’s not what the scientists would expect.’

For full listings, see our TV Guide.

TV Times rating: ****

Ian MacEwan
Senior Writer

Ian writes about TV and film for TV Times, What’s on TV and TV & Satellite Week magazines. He co-hosts the weekly TV streaming podcast, Bingewatch.