TV blog

So while cooking on my fire pit out in the bush in 2011, I receive an international phone call on my wildlife rescue mobile phone from film director Andrew Graham-Brown (AGB Films) asking me if I would be interested in doing a taster tape about my life with kangaroos.

A taster tape is a short film which gives broadcasters a kind of movie trailer to entice them to want to commission a film. I was filmed non-stop for a week.

The taster tape was well received by the BBC, and they decided to fund a two-part series. The first sequel in Natural World's history. This lead to the BBC Two series Kangaroo Dundee.

Pillowcase practice: A handy substitute for a pouch takes some getting used to

I thought it would be a good way of showing people overseas my life living in the outback with my family of kangaroos.

I have been a kangaroo mum to orphaned joeys (baby kangaroos) for near on 20 years and it's always been a great passion of mine.

In the early years of my kangaroo sanctuary in Alice Springs were roos ‘mad as a cut snake' Roger, beautiful Ella and always curious Abigail.

Ella and Brolga are still close now that she is an adult

I always knew keeping a hand-reared male roo with a couple of girlfriends would be a problem later on. And Roger’s aggressive behaviour did not surprise me.

He grew up with no fear of people and saw them as a threat to his harem.

He started kickboxing people at two years old and three feet tall, and continues today at over six feet tall, eight years old and 80-odd kilos.

I enjoyed having a TV crew follow me around the bush with my family of kangaroos.

I was particularly interested in having them come out on the road with me for my daily patrol of the highway, looking for orphaned kangaroos still alive in the pouch of their road kill mothers.

This is a message I have always tried to educate people about.

Having a TV crew with me at all times was only really difficult when we were filming Roger the alpha male.

The film crew had to be protected behind a wire cage when filming him as he would try to attack them.

The cage was built to be transportable and about five feet tall, so a camera and tripod could see over the top.

Follow the leader: Baby joeys need to learn it's safer to stick together

The filming of the new series of Kangaroo Dundee has been a really enjoyable part of my life and the film crew of AGB Films have become close friends.

I am really looking forward in the next six-parter to the introduction of orphan roos Rex and Ruby, and Rocky who is a new character and new species in the show, a wallaby.

My life has changed with a lot more people telling me I inspired them to be a wildlife carer.

This gives me great enjoyment to know that I have changed some people lives, and helped the lives of orphan animals.

Kangaroo Dundee is a beautifully filmed documentary and I am proud to be one of the human characters in it and I hope it inspires more people to look after the environment and its animals.

Chris 'Brolga' Barns is a conservationist and presents Kangaroo Dundee.

Kangaroo Dundee continues at 8.30pm on Friday, 13 December BBC Two and BBC Two HD. For further programme times please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Comments

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by Julia

    on 29 Jan 2014 14:52

    Hi Chris, NZ just screened the Kangaroo Dundee two week reality series here on TV ONE started Mid Jan 2014. I had never heard of you or your hopes for this much needed Kangaroo Sanctuary.
    It"s so fascinating and captivating to witness your amazing interaction and dedication with all those precious little orphaned Joey's and what you've achieved so far.
    How ever you have certainly paid your dues living in the Tin hut for 4 years with no water or e-com etc. Good to hear that you have been able to improve you quality of life as well.
    It's obvious that you have water for washing ALL those that look so clean and a labour of love .
    from you for your "babies"lovely little pouches etc
    It raises questions like, do you have a Water Diviner somewhere close by.Is water brought in on a big tanker.or have you been able to dig an aAtesian Well of some sort.This all cost money.... and I'm sure you constantly need the practical support on going Funding.
    Don't for get you. You also need a mouse free bed and the basic enjoyment of some of lifes small pleasures ... what I call a little bit of "sanity; money.
    Have sent a small donation via PayPal to cover a couple of nice cold beers when you out on the porch during some of the those glorious Sunsets watching your dear little family Hopping around in their Safe, Secure back yard with MUM ( (you) watching on .
    It is so amazing to see those babies hanging in their pouches while you do the washing and then when you go out side and call the Mob. "all those heads POP from where they were hidden the grasses, and then they all start hopping towards your voice, It's just AWESOME ... Finally, thank you for sharing your private quiet time out in the early morning and viewing All the night sky and Stars in Total Spender...INCREDIBLE ....
    Hopefully a better life for you now so that you can continue the Stamina and Strength to Complete the Sanctuary with every necessary Facility.
    In the mean time, Best wishes to you, Tahnee and ALL the other wonderful Volunteer Mothers and helpers ....

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by Jen G

    on 16 Jan 2014 21:37

    Just wondered how you teach the kangaroo's about predators, since you aim to release them eventually? Do they have special calls to alert each other of danger?

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by Courtney J Webb

    on 15 Jan 2014 10:41

    Chris - Id like to speak with you, Im a writer (with an Aussie passport) currently in the UK. I would love to visit you :) I will seek you out on facebook (it will be my real name, the name here is my authors name :) ) You are amazing - in case you didnt know. xxx

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by Julie

    on 12 Jan 2014 20:32

    What a great programme. As a child I remember opening the back door one day and being confronted by an old man kangaroo which had escaped from a nearby sanctuary in the Darling Ranges, WA. Roger looked very familiar to me! Brolga, I really wish you every success, you certainly deserve it. More programmes like this, PLEASE.

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by Zoeeoz

    on 12 Jan 2014 03:13

    Just watched this programmes, but could not find number 5. Off what I have seen was so beautiful. A daddy for a mummy, brought tears t my eyes when saw those little 'joey's' looking up t you as a mum. was so nice to see that a man can be so caring and take time out to look after such lovely animals that some other people do not care about. Keep up the good work Brolga. Wish I was into money to be able to send you some to help with the care of those wonderful little cute animals. Hope the tours go well. .Got a lovely big smile on my face to know there are some people who love to look after the animals on this God given earth.Hoe we get to see another series of how the kangaroos are getting on. Thank you s much for your love and insight into this wonderful programme. :D

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by Basil Brush

    on 11 Jan 2014 18:54

    I came across this documentary by accident and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I grew up, on a dairy farm, in Australia and there were plenty of Kangaroos on our property, mainly greys. The lady down the road used to look after orphaned creatures and would often have a joey or a wombat which were great fun to be with, just like little people.

    Watching this series brought back many fond memories of my childhood and I wish that my boys could have a similar experience. The next time we are back in Oz we will definitely come to Alice and spend some time exploring and being with your kangaroos.

    You and your friends are doing a brilliant job and I hope that you can continue the great work that you are all doing.

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by jules

    on 11 Jan 2014 16:41

    To watch Kangaroo Dundee and see Brolga and his friends devote their lives to helping animals has been inspirational and heartwarming. It is heartbreaking that joeys are orphaned, but thanks to the dedication and care that Brolga and the ladies give them, they are given a precious second chance. It has been lovely to follow Ruby & Rex's progress and to see them join Bluey to become part of the mob at the sanctuary. It was also amazing to be able to see Ella's joey in her pouch, see Rocky safely released and watching Roger chasing Brolga always made me smile. Thank you for such an uplifting and wonderful insight into nature being helped by humans.

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by Betty Boo

    on 11 Jan 2014 11:17

    What a superb series, I watched it on catch up from start to finish & didn't want it to end. The love & devotion of one man for these beautiful animals shines through from start to finish & it bought tears to my eyes when they had to be set free to be with their own kind! Good luck for the future with The Sanctuary & your own personal life Brolga, you are truly an inspirational man. Thank you for sharing your 'Special World' with us.

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by Heather C

    on 9 Jan 2014 17:48

    I have really enjoyed watching the programmes. I am so impressed by your care and dedication to the orphaned kangaroos, and that of the ladies too who take them in. Loved the little rock wallaby too. Just a thought, do old-fashioned things like flypaper work, I couldn't cope with all those flies around! You are an amazing person, well done and good luck with your future plans.

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by dotty

    on 8 Jan 2014 21:10

    I have just finished reading Brolga's book, it is absolutely delightful. Anyone who enjoys the BBC TV programmes will just love the book. It only took me 3 day's to read it as I couldn't put it down. You are doing an amazing job Brolga and I wish you all the luck in the world for the future.

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