C4 and STV Productions granted exclusive access to polar bear cub
Channel 4 and STV Productions have been granted unprecedented and exclusive access to document the breeding and birth of the first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years.
A unique hour-long documentary – Britain’s Polar Bear Cub – filmed over two years by STV Productions for Channel 4, will follow the pioneering polar bear breeding programme at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Highland Wildlife Park.
The announcement follows news of the cub emerging for the first time this week, captured by remote cameras. Prior to the first sighting, the birth – which happened a week before Christmas – had only been confirmed by high-pitched noises from the den.
The Channel 4 documentary will follow the huge undertaking as keepers attempt to mate Victoria, Britain's only female polar bear, with a male called Arktos in the hope that she would give birth to a cub.
Viewers will get an insight into the extraordinary biology of polar bears, how they mate and how they raise their young, and the film will explore the role polar bear breeding in captivity has to play in the species’ future survival.
Peter Collins, Executive Producer at STV Productions, said: "The tireless dedication of the keepers, combined with Victoria's incredible journey, makes for a compelling story we were keen to tell. Underlying this, there's an important conservation message to share for the future."
Tom Porter, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4 said: “We are very excited to be able to commission this film from STV Productions in Scotland. It is a fascinating story about one of the world’s most totemic creatures which touches the heart but also brings into focus some of the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet.”
Barbara Smith, Chief Executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “The birth of the first polar bear in the UK for 25 years is a tremendous achievement and testament to the team at our Highland Wildlife Park, where we have developed a world-leading polar bear management programme. We have been delighted to work with STV Productions and Channel 4 to tell this story as it is vital to raise awareness of the ever-increasing threats polar bears face in the wild and to do all we can to safeguard the future of this magnificent species.”
Britain’s Polar Bear Cub airs on Channel 4 at 7pm on Sunday 18 March and repeats on Wednesday 21 March at 10pm on More 4.
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STV Productions is one of the UK’s leading content businesses with ambitious plans for domestic and international growth.
The company has a record of success across a range of genres, including drama, entertainment and factual, for a wide range of broadcasters. Ratings winner Antiques Road Trip has run for sixteen series on the BBC, along with seven series of sister programme Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. A further two series of Antiques Road Trip and an eighth series of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip are now in production.
In entertainment, the company has produced six series of Catchphrase for ITV, game shows And They’re Off...for Sport Relief for BBC One and Babushka for ITV Daytime, as well as The Dressing Room for UKTV’s entertainment channel W.
STV Productions has a track record of producing quality returnable drama series and most recently secured its first BBC drama commission - four part thriller The Victim for BBC One, which is now in pre-production. Previous drama productions include Taggart and Rebus for ITV.
Documentary highlights include two series of Prison: First & Last 24 Hours for Sky1, Ross Kemp Behind Bars – Inside Barlinnie for ITV, BAFTA Scotland winning Dunblane: Our Story for BBC Two, Scotland and the Battle for Britain presented by Andrew Marr for BBC Two, The Queen Mary: Greatest Ocean Liner, a documentary for BBC Scotland, BBC Four and Smithsonian Channel, and Fire in the Night, an award winning feature documentary to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster.
Specialist factual successes have included Tree of the Year for Channel 4, Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered for BBC1, Smithsonian Channel and Discovery Canada, Swallowed by the Sea – Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Lost City for BBC2 and Life After: Chernobyl for Animal Planet US.
STV Productions works with a number of leading international sales agents that distribute its completed programmes and formats outside the UK. The company recently announced a partnership with Sky Vision, covering international distribution rights to STV Productions' unscripted catalogue as well as a global distribution deal for forthcoming BBC drama, The Victim.
STV Productions has a strategic development partnership with Motion Content Group to create new entertainment, factual and drama projects for the UK and international markets.
Channel 4 is a publicly-owned, commercially-funded, not-for-profit public service broadcaster and has a remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive. Its public ownership and not-for-profit status ensure all profit generated by its commercial activity is directly reinvested back into the delivery of its public service remit. As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is also required to commission UK content from the independent production sector and currently works with over 300 creative companies across the UK every year. In addition to the main Channel 4 service, its portfolio includes: E4, More4, Film4, 4Music, 4seven, Channel4.com and digital service All 4. For more information, visit: www.channel4.com/press