Gorillas, a new documentary series for BBC Two
The BBC Natural History Unit has been granted unprecedented access to the world of the critically endangered mountain gorilla for a landmark documentary series for BBC Two.
Set to be the most intimate and revealing portrait of gorilla life to date, the series will chart the plight of a species in "intensive care".
Just a handful of families cling to existence on the forested peaks of three isolated volcanoes in a small corner of Africa, surrounded on all sides by a growing human population.
Over three 60-minute programmes, cameras will enter this fragile world and follow the life of one gorilla family as they go about their day-to-day existence.
From the joy and happiness of a new birth and worry for a sick infant, to the tenderness of relationships built over decades and the horror of a violent death, the films will explore the real emotion entwined in the various aspects of life for one of the most charismatic species on the planet.
The series will meet the team of experts dedicated to caring for them – "the gorilla doctors" – a group of vets, conservationists and local rangers who work tirelessly to care for the species.
It will also explore the fascinating history of the mountain gorilla, from their discovery only a century ago, through their ongoing struggle to survive to the bleak future they face today.
Executive Producer, Sara Ford, says: "We will have privileged access to one of the planet's most emotionally engaging animal characters.
"This will be the definitive series on the endangered mountain gorilla as well as an intimate family portrait set against a backdrop of human conflict and passionate endeavour."
Neil Nightingale, Head of BBC NHU, adds: "Mountain gorillas are some of our closest relatives and yet, as a species, they have been reduced to no more than a few hundred individuals in a small corner of Africa.
"The fascination of their current lives, their turbulent past and the uncertainty of their future, makes for one of the most dramatic and emotional wildlife stories of all."
Gorillas is being made by BBC Vision Productions and was commissioned by Emma Swain, Head of In-house Commissioning, Knowledge. Executive Producer is Sara Ford.
The three-part series will go out in 2010 on BBC Two.
Notes to Editors
The BBC Natural History Unit is the world leader in the production of ambitious landmark natural history series.
Some of the projects currently in production include Nature's Great Events, Yellowstone, Life and The Human Planet.
The BBC is also the world leader in live natural history broadcasting and multiplatform events, which currently include Springwatch, Autumnwatch and World On The Move, as well as Big Cat Live.
The NHU is a diverse production studio working across multiple platforms within BBC Vision.
Besides producing television content for BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four, the NHU also creates content for CBeebies, CBBC, BBC Radio 4, BBC Nations and Regions, BBC News, bbc.co.uk and BBC Films.
The Natural History Unit, together with BBC Learning and in partnership with the wildlife and conservation sector in the UK, leads the BBC Breathing Places campaign to engage audiences in making a difference for UK wildlife.
Natural World is the longest running natural history strand in the UK.
It started over 40 years ago in 1967 (as World About Us) and this year celebrates 25 years under its current title of Natural World, which was introduced in 1983.
It has recently been re-commissioned for a further three years.