Year: 2016

Format: 1×60

Channel: Channel 4

About The Show

Legendary actress Virginia McKenna is returning to Africa – to retrace the steps she took when making the iconic 1966 film Born Free.

The film that told the story of Elsa the lion cub being reared by hand before being given her freedom.

For nine months Virginia and her late husband Will Travers lived and worked with wild lions in Kenya creating a movie that would not only change the lives of its cast but how the world viewed animals in the wild.

But fifty years ago, with no cgi and no stunt doubles how was filming in such close contact with lions possible? How was the film made?

Accompanied by her eldest son Will, who was just six at the time and described his experience as “a boys own adventure” Virginia revisits the locations that meant so much to her and reveals not only how she earned the trust of lions but nearly lost that of the film’s producers.

With astonishing insights from the original crew – from how they had to film from inside cages as the lions roamed free to how tins of tuna often used to save the day; an interview with Don Black writer of the classic Born free song and astonishing footage showing the handover of great Britain’s imperial power as Kenya gained its independence, this is a fascinating insight into a story that not only changed Virginia and her family’s life but many of ours.

Executive Producer – Paul Stead

Director – Danny Beck

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