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Lee Ingleby, Anne Reid to star in BBC period drama about UK's open zoo

(Image credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima)

Lee Ingleby will play the founder of Chester Zoo in a new BBC1 period drama.

The actor, who is best known as John Bacchus in Inspector George Gently, will star in Our Zoo as World War I veteran George Mottershead, who wanted to create Britain's first zoo without bars.

The six-part series, which will screen later this year, will follow pioneering George and his colourful family as they battle to establish the world-famous zoo, which opened in 1931. Life on Mars' Liz White will play George's wife Lizzie, the mother of their two daughters, while Last Tango in Halifax's Anne Reid plays George's mother Lucy who goes to live with George and his family after her husband Albert, played by The Paradise's Peter Wight, sells the family shop to help their son fund the zoo.

The Royle Family's Ralph Little will also feature in the series as Lizzie's brother Billy, Spooks' Sophia Myles will play neighbouring aristocrat Lady Katherine and The Wrong Mans' Stephen Campbell Moore plays Reverend Aaron Webb.