Lightning bolt kills Wild At Heart giraffe

Actor Stephen Tompkinson with Hamley Hamley featured in the show for five years

A giraffe that appeared on the ITV drama Wild At Heart has died after being struck by a bolt of lightning.

Producer Nick Goding said cast and crew are heartbroken following the sudden death of "playful and charming" Hamley.

The seven-year-old had featured in the show for five years and had already appeared in scenes that were shot for the forthcoming series.

The thunderstorm, which killed Hamley, took place on Monday on the Glen Afric reserve in South Africa.

The series stars Stephen Tompkinson and Dawn Steele as newlyweds Danny and Alice Trevanion.

The cast did not witness the incident, as they were away from the reserve filming scenes elsewhere.

"We are all desperately upset about the passing of Hamley, who has been part of the Wild At Heart family for five years," said Goding.

"It was a natural disaster, but nevertheless heartbreaking for everyone who has been involved with him - he was a real character.

"Our wildlife is very much at the heart of the series - Hamley was a gentle, playful and charming animal. He will be greatly missed by everybody."

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