Monthly Archives: May 2015

Our Zoo query

To Janice, who inquired about Muriel Mottershead (but left no contact email) I do not know anything about what happened to her other than that she emigrated to New Zealand. I am just a fan of the programme.
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BBC4 takes it easy

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Everything seems so fast paced nowadays, including TV programmes. Fast editing, music blaring, presenters talking animatedly, there seems no time to just …. relax. Well, BBC4 (who else!) have decided to have a “slow TV” week. The idea seems to have originated in Norway with programmes of crackiling fires gaining an audience of people just wanting to de-stress. This brings back memories of the interludes of “The potter’s wheel” in the early days of TV.
Nowadays this is called “slow TV”, but this is far more “reality TV” than that genre will ever be!
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There are five programmes; one showing the making of a glass jug; one showing the making of a metal knife; one showing the making of a chair and one called “Dawn Chorus”, but the one I had a look at on iPlayer was “All Aboard! The Canal Trip”. This was a journey on a canal boat down the historic Kennet and Avon canal from Bath to the Dundas Aqueduct. Filmed in one shot, without any commentary or music it takes the viewer on a two hour leisurely boat trip through beautiful scenery. Although there is no commentary, facts about the history of the area or places seen on route are present as graphics which float on the water or appear on bridges.
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I had tuned in rather sceptically, but the scenery was absolutely gorgeous and seeing the other barges and other vessels on the canal and lovely waterside buildings was a joy. It was all rather charming and somewhat hypnotic! Watch this to see beautiful countryside, de-stress or be lulled to sleep by the sound of water lapping and birds singing.
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Over half a million viewers watched this programme so this “slow TV” could catch on!
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This programme and other slow TV programmes, “Handmade: Glass”, “Handmade:Metal”, “Handmade:Wood” and “Dawn Chorus:The Sounds of Spring” are all available on iPlayer for 28 days.

Chester Zoo founder dies

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One of the original founders of Chester Zoo, June Williams (née Mottershead) has died at the age of 88. June's father, George Mottershead, founded the zoo and it was June's book “Our Zoo” about how her father and the rest of the family went on to found the successful zoo that formed the basis of the BBC series of the same name.
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June as a little girl was portrayed by Honor Kneafsey and her father George by Lee Ingelby, and are seen in the above picture of the final shot of the series with them looking in awe and delight into the van containing the first big cat arrival.
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I have made no secret of how much I loved this series and how disappointed I am that the BBC didn't renew it. June acted as a consultant on the series and had a cameo in it. It is a shame that her family's story and legacy will not continue to be told.
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She is survived by her children, George, Joy and Linda and grandchildren.
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RIP June Williams.
 
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