The Dog Rescuers Puppy Farm Special
Channel 5, 8pm
Tuesday 27th October 2015
In this special puppy focused episode of Dog Rescuers Alan Davies reveals how the RSPCA cracked one of Britain’s biggest puppy farm operations in Manchester, rescuing 87 puppies from harrowing conditions and eventually bringing the owners of the racket to successful convictions just one week ago. Operation Pagan lasted 5 years and we will see exclusive footage from the raid and talk to the Special Operations Officers who conducted the investigation, who explain how they managed to bring this barbaric business to an end.
We see incredible footage of the puppies being rescued and taken to be examined by [RSPCA?] vets and we also visit them now to see how their lives have been turned around by living in loving new homes.
The programme also features; information on how viewers can give a rescue puppy a loving home, brand new dog rescues; and a story from Somerset, where we meet three adorable Japanese Chin puppies who, at six weeks old, are enjoying their final days at the animal centre before getting rehomed.
And finally we meet Bruce and Rebel, two 18 month old Lurcher pups who are long term residents of Newbrook Animal Centre. They were saved from living in terrible conditions for days on end and we will do a “live” appeal to see if we can find them a new home. In their heart breaking story we’ll hear how they will have to be rehomed together as Bruce has a degenerative eye disease and will be blind within a year, so will need to rely on best mate Rebel to lead him around in the future.
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PUSSIES GALORE: THE WOMAN WITH A THOUSAND CATS
Friday 18th September, 8:00pm – 9.00pm
There are over 9 millions cats in our UK homes, with most owners living with a single feline friend, however for someone just isn’t enough. In this extraordinary one hour programme we meet some of the most fanatical kitty lovers who have taken their love one step further. We meet a woman who can’t stop taking local strays in, a man with a cat tattoo obsession, we get an insight into the world of cat competitions and we visit a unique establishment that allows you to enjoy your food whilst stroking a pussy.
Lynea Lattanzio is the embodiment of a crazy cat lady, she has over 1000 cats on her premises and is still unable to say no to more. What started off as company for the divorced retiree, has now spiralled into taking over her whole existence.
Lynea was refused a cat as a child and has been working hard since, making up for lost time. We visit her Californian home and see her surrounded by her furry family, witnessing just how she manages to keep things ticking. With a thousand cats on the property is it all getting too much for Lynea or will she always be thinking of the many more roaming the streets?
From Crazy Cat Lady to Crazy Cat Man, we meet pussy magnet Andy Richards who has spent the last 20 years of his life dedicating his time to helping cats. Andy, the manager of the East Lancashire Cats charity store and owner of 18 of his own, has now racked up 40 cat related tattoos! We join Andy as he embarks upon his latest design, as he goes under the needle for two more tatts. Will Andy’s cat inking obsession come to an end or will he run out of space first?
Later in the episode we meet up with some UK based cat crazies as we discover the world of the Cat Competition. We follow Sue Miller from Devon, a self admitted cat obsessive, who is taking seven of her eighteen cats to the West of England and South Wales Cat Society Show in hope of adding to her vast collection of ribbons and rosettes. We see the preparation, the judging and the results and find out just how much her little superstars winning means to her. Will the pressures of the competition get too much for Sue or will see come away with more accolades?
In the final instalment of the hour we enter a unique establishment that allows people to eat their lunch and drink a coffee surrounded by their favourite feline. We meet Katie Jane Glazier who has opened up Newcastle’s first of its kind, the Cat Café called Mog on the Tyne! In a café influenced by its phenomenon success in Japan, you can now eat your lunch at the same time as stroking a pussy. Will Katie’s unique business venture be a roaring success or will it be doomed to failure?
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Connor PR working with Middlechild Productions on a TV exclusive – Hercules The Human Bear, Channel Five
HERCULES THE HUMAN BEAR
“Human beings differ to animals only in degree and not in kind”
Charles Darwin, Descent of Man
TX: Channel 5, Thursday April 3rd, 9pm, 2014
Produced by Middlechild Productions
Hercules the Human Bear tells the amazing story of Andy and Maggie Robin and their relationship with a grizzly bear that became the most famous animal in the world. A bear that was bought as a cub from a Scottish zoo for £50 in 1976 and lived in Andy and Maggie’s home for 25 years. Hercules grew to be a superstar on the celebrity circuit and through the love and devotion of Andy and Maggie, in their eyes, became human.
In 1976 Andy and Maggie bought a grizzly bear cub from a local zoo, initially to fulfil Andy’s need for a unique wrestling partner. Little did they know at the time that Hercules, the tiny bear cub, would become the worlds’ most famous bear and make them a fortune in the process.
Hercules the Human Bear focuses on the unique relationship that Andy, Maggie and Hercules forged during their 25 years together. With interviews from Andy and Maggie as well as all the key contributors to their story, the documentary reveals the unique story of how Andy and Maggie managed to live under the same roof as the world’s most dangerous land mammal.
Extraordinary archive film footage reveals Hercules adapting to his new surroundings at the Sheriffmuir Inn and learning to wrestle with Andy, without killing him in the process, to the heart stopping moment he went missing in the Outer Hebrides where the hunt for Hercules turned into National and International news. We see how Hercules begins his road to stardom in adverts for products such as Kleenex and Hofmeister Beer, to how his fame got greater and greater to star in films such as James Bond’s Octopussy, making the front cover of Time magazine and even how he caddied for Bob Hope at a golf tournament. Concluding with a trip to the Outer Hebrides where a life-sized statue of Hercules is unveiled and hearing how Hercules touched the lives of many.
World Champion wrestler, Andy Robin, had performed a wrestling bout in Canada with a feared local wrestler – an 8ft black bear called Terrible Ted. The sheer power and strength of the animal shocked and amazed Andy and he began to admire Ted’s natural wrestling ability. The fight lasted only 20 minutes but Andy was hooked. He wanted a bear of his own no matter what the cost.
Combining the testimony of all the key participants, newly-discovered archival film and dramatic imagery, this is the picaresque story of one grizzly bear’s extraordinary journey through human life and the enduring impact he made on the characters he met along the way.
The anthropomorphism (attribution of human characteristics to anything other than a human being) of animals is centuries old and bears in particular have taken on a unique status in our hearts – from Winnie the Poo, Rupert, Yogi and Paddington Bear in children’s fiction to the use of real bears in television series such as Gentle Ben.
Hercules’ story was the ultimate nature versus nurture tale. With no formal animal training, Andy and Maggie Robin allowed a 9-foot 70-stone grizzly bear to share every inch of their lives, from the house they owned to the food they ate. If the experiment were successful they would go on the most amazing fairy tale of a journey, but if it went wrong, like so many times before and since, they would most probably end up dead, mauled to death by the most deadly land carnivore in the world.
The story of wild nature bending to human kindness and understanding, is a genre whose popularity reflects a yearning for an idealised relationship with nature – one that, even having outgrown the fantasies of childhood, we find it hard to shake off.
Hercules The Human Bear is the embodiment of this call of nature. It’s a unique success story where many have failed; it could well be the ultimate example of nurture overcoming nature.
David Sumnall, Director said: “This is a once in a lifetime story. Sharing your life with a Grizzly Bear like Andy and Maggie did will never be done again. They managed to form a completely unique bond with a very special bear. This was largely thanks to Hercules and Maggies’ incredible nature and the fact that Andy was as much a bear as Hercules was human! For anyone who loves their pets, and thinks they might have some ‘human’ in them – this is a must watch.”
For all media enquiries, please contact Siobhan at Connor PR. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 07966 177025
Andy and Maggie Robin are available for interview.
Preview discs are available on request.
Notes to editors:
Middlechild Productions is a genuinely independent production company based in London. We specialise in ambitious, factual programmes produced with passion and to the highest standard.
Creative Director – David Sumnall
David set up Middlechild in 2008 with the help of a development deal from Channel 4’s factual and documentary departments. Prior to setting up Middlechild, David developed, directed and produced a variety of programmes for all the major broadcasters including Jonny’s Hotshot’s for BBC1; Engineering Giants for BBC2; Animal Addicts for Channel Four; Victoria Cross Heroes for Five and Football Years for Sky One.
David also recently co-produced the feature film Cleanskin starring Sean Bean for Warner Brothers.
Director of Production – Paul Goodliffe
Paul Goodliffe has over 20 years in Television Production management . He has been Director of Production for Sky Entertainment overseeing SKY’s production teams and outside contractors to manage their multi-million pound production outlay across a variety of formats. In addition, he has also held senior managerial positions at Virgin Media and Channel Five.
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Connor PR working with Middlechild and GroupM Entertainment production on a new programme for Channel 5 ‘ The Dog Rescuers’
The Dog Rescuers
Coming soon to Channel 5, “The Dog Rescuers” a Middlechild and GroupM Entertainment production that follows the canine rescue work of the RSPCA across England and Wales.
With over 1.3 million reports of cruelty and mistreatment of animals made to the RSPCA every year, the charity is under increasing pressure to safeguard our nation’s pets from the constant threat of abusive owners and unscrupulous breeders. This series follows those inspectors and officers that deal with ensuring man’s best friend is being properly treated. Using the latest forensic technologies and good old fashioned leg work, the series follows the RSPCA inspectors as they track down and rescue some of the 150,000 animals which are abused and mistreated in the UK every year, and witnesses the struggle to rehabilitate the victimised animals and to prosecute the offenders.
Channel 5 gained access to a selected group of the RSPCA’s 350 inspectors across the country for four months, and our cameras followed inspectors investigating crimes of abuse against dogs and puppies in rural areas and inner cities, as poor living conditions, malnutrition, illegal mass-breeding, organised fights are eradicated all in the aid of saving dogs’ lives.
Despite the sometimes horrific findings, the 10 x 30’ series has positivity at its heart as it will also follow some of the RSPCA’s success stories as they seek to rehabilitate and eventually rehouse some of the 12,000 dogs which the charity rehomes every year.
David Sumnall, Series Producer commented: “We are a nation of dog lovers but over 50% of RSPCA’s prosecutions last year were for cases involving abuse to dogs, so I think this is a really important series. We’ve been able to highlight the plight of these animals and show the incredible work that is being done to rescue and rehome them. It has been tough to witness the neglect at times but to be there as the dogs and puppies are saved and to see them with their new families has made it all worth it.”
Greg Barnett, Commissioning Editor, Entertainment, Daytime & Soaps said: “This series will have a tremendous impact on all those that watch. Some of the circumstances and conditions in which the RSPCA inspectors find dogs is unbelievably horrible. We’re trying to get as many dogs rehoused in loving homes as possible across the series run, putting the heart back into having a family pet and thereby giving four legged friends in need a second chance”
Alan Laxton, RSPCA Broadcast Executive:
The RSPCA rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes thousands of dogs a year across England and Wales. It’s great that The Dog Rescuers gives audiences the chance to see the dedication, hard work and passion all RSPCA staff have for making the lives of these dogs better. Some of the stories can be shocking, but The Dog Rescuers also shows the heart warming, happy endings that the RSPCA strives to give to every dog that comes into our care.