'Fantastic Foxes: Their Secret World' — Steve Backshall guides us through his new nature series

Steve Backshall introduces us to some fantastic foxes and their cubs.
Steve Backshall introduces us to some fantastic foxes and their cubs. (Image credit: Channel 5)

New Channel 5 series Fantastic Foxes: Their Secret World will show us that foxes are some of the most vilified and misunderstood creatures. But it’s hard not to fall in love with the seven rescued cubs, named Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La and Ti, in a new two-part series presented by nature expert Steve Backshall.

The newborn cubs were saved from a building site and are being cared for at a wildlife centre in Surrey, giving Steve a chance to follow their progress as they’re nurtured back to the wild. "There are few animals that polarise opinion like the fox does. But, love them or hate them, there’s so much about this animal that we don’t understand," says Steve. "A big part of a fox’s secret life takes place in their den. This a chance to look at the cubs’ personality, development and social interaction."

The fox cubs are both blind and deaf and need round-the-clock care. But after six weeks they’re moved to an enclosure so they can start to learn to be wild animals. Once released, however, they’ll face many dangers. Around 100,000 foxes are killed on roads every year and fox cubs regularly get entangled in barbed wire or football nets. 

Steve also witnesses a vixen give birth, captured on a special remote camera, and busts the myth that foxes kill chickens in a coop for fun. "Actually a fox will only kill for food and will store its prey to eat later,’ explains Steve. ‘The owner hears the chickens, comes outside and scares the fox away, leaving a trail of dead chickens that haven’t yet been taken and stored. Foxes are real survivalists. There’s so much that’s truly remarkable about them!"

The concluding episode delves into fox behaviour, watching the seven magnificent cubs being followed since they were just days old, as they battle to establish their hierarchy. Viewers find out how foxes communicate through their many vocal sounds, from power struggles to a good old chinwag! We see how male foxes rival each other as one moves into an already established patch.

You can  find out the truth about fox mange and see the devastation caused by manmade hazards as an adult male fox is caught on barbed wire. Witness also the magic of fox encounters in a back garden, the relationship shared between humans and foxes, and the joy as the seven cubs are released into the wild to start their new lives.

All in all it's an up-close-and-personal journey into the secret life of one of Britain’s most iconic creatures.

Fantastic Foxes... the cubs are just too cute!

Fantastic Foxes... the cubs are just too cute! (Image credit: Channel 5)

Fantastic Foxes: Their Secret World air date

Fantastic Foxes: Their Secret World begins on Friday August 27 at 7pm on Channel 5, with the last episode shown the following Friday on September 3 at the same time. Both episodes will become available on the streaming service My5.

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.