This primetime ITV series stars Stephen Tompkinson and Amanda Holden. It is produced by the award-winning Company Pictures whose credits include The Lakes and Shameless. Set against the stunning scenery of the South African bush, Wild at Heart is the story of Danny Travanion, a widowed English vet and his new extended, warring family. Sarah, Danny's second wife, decides the family should all go on holiday to return a sick monkey to its natural habitat in Africa.
She hopes the trip, as well as being a break from their normal city routine, will bring them all closer together as a family. The holiday develops into a permanent adventure and eventually they decide to stay to run a game reserve.
Producer Ann Harrison-Baxter says: “This is drama, not a documentary, and so has to be character and storyline led, however television audiences are so used to brilliant wildlife documentaries that the challenge was to make our animal interaction believable. So, where ever possible we had the actors in shot with the wild animals. “We needed to have a flexible, practical attitude to filming with wild animals. They all have their own characters, some of the smaller animals preferred certain people, some are more aggressive, some passive.
The series was filmed at Glen Afric, a 1500 acre game reserve and sanctuary and home to a host of African wildlife including lion, cheetah, elephant, hippo and buffalo. The production had its own Leopard’s Den built on the side of an overgrown hill. Ann says: “We literally walked every inch of the reserve to find the best place to build the house and then it was all created from scratch and aged to look like it had been there for more than a century in just 10 weeks!”
:: Series 1
|Episode 1||Danny Trevanion didn’t become a vet to deal with overweight cats and their over protective owners. So when a half-dead African monkey arrives at the surgery Danny rises to the challenge. But he’s called away after his stepson, Evan, confronts a school bully with a tranquiliser gun stolen from Danny’s cupboard. Danny’s fury is cut short when his stepdaughter Olivia discovers the unusual patient in his car.|
Danny’s new wife Sarah is amazed at the positive effect the scraggy little monkey has on Evan. She makes an incredible proposition: they should take Valentine the monkey back home to Africa. Danny thinks it’s impossible…then they land in South Africa for their first family holiday.
After an unexpected encounter with a rhino they arrive at Leopard’s Den, where Danny plans to release Valentine back into the wild. Their first meeting with the cantankerous South African landowner, Du Plessis, is less than propitious, and he admits he’s been less successful at releasing monkeys than claimed on his website. Danny decides to leave Valentine in his cage overnight near a troop of fellow vervet monkeys so they can get used to him.
But that night Evan is plagued by nightmares about the monkey, so armed with Du Plessis’ shotgun he makes his way, terrified, through the bush. In a bid to help the monkey, Evan decides to release him, but a predatory hyena is lurking and things get out of control. The family is alerted by a shot ringing out and rush into the bush to find a shaken Evan and a badly wounded Valentine. Evan is wracked with guilt as Danny does everything he can to save the monkey.
As the family prepare to leave, Du Plessis makes a startling proposition: that they start a new life in Africa, helping him to reintroduce animals and set up a game reserve at Leopard’s Den. Danny turns him down. It’s an impossible idea…isn’t it?
|Episode 2||Danny is having second thoughts about the wisdom of uprooting his new family and ploughing all their money into a business venture they know next to nothing about. Rosie especially is adamant he’d be mad to sign the contract that would bind them to Du Plessis and Africa for the foreseeable future.|
Meanwhile, Evan and Du Plessis are driving to town for supplies when they hit a cheetah. Du Plessis is about to put the wounded animal out of its misery when Evan intervenes, certain that Danny can save her. Danny reluctantly leaves Sarah, Rosie and Olivia to finish the fencing to tend to the ‘cat’ that Du Plessis has found. He is astonished to find the cat is actually a fully grown, furious cheetah which seems intent on destroying their living room.
Back in the bush, the girls come face-to-face with a lion, heading straight for them via a gap in the fence. Fearing for their lives they are horrified when a shot rings out and the lion falls dead at their feet. Their rescuer is Alex Tate, a handsome neighbour who insists to an irate Sarah that his version of conservation benefits the animals of Mara in the long run. Sarah is shocked to learn that Mara is Tate’s luxurious game reserve situated right next door…
As Danny operates to try to save the cheetah, Sarah demands to know why Du Plessis failed to mention the massive competition on their doorstep. A visit to the lavish Mara does little to allay Danny’s fears that they’ve been stitched up.
Things go from bad to worse when Olivia collapses out in the bush. She’s been bitten by a venomous snake and it’s a race against time to save her.
Despite the traumas, as Danny and Sarah watch their children united in wonder at the recovering cheetah, they begin to realise how Africa could heal their troubled family. Sarah tells Danny to sign the contract.
|Episode 3||A successful giraffe capture means everyone is in high spirits, until the arrival of Evan and Olivia’s real father, Simon, throws the family into turmoil. Distraught at the news that Olivia almost died from a snake bite, Simon is determined to take his kids back with him to England. Sarah is furious, he wasn’t thinking of his kids when he left her for his secretary. Claiming the children were brought to Africa without his consent, Simon threatens to fight through the courts to get them back.|
Rosie doesn’t hide her delight; she knows that if Evan and Olivia go back to England the whole family will return. Danny is deeply disappointed by her selfishness.
Watched with trepidation by his father, Evan joyfully releases the mended cheetah back into the wild. Sarah appeals once more to Simon: can’t he see how happy they are here? He agrees to ask Evan and Olivia what they want and to be bound by the children’s decision.
Rosie lands a bar job in town, working for Themba. But when a drunken fight breaks out Tate rescues her. On their way back to Leopard’s Den they find Evan’s cheetah by the side of the road. She’s been attacked by hyenas and is bleeding to death. Evan is devastated and feels Danny has let them down. Maybe he would prefer to return to England with his father.
Danny and Sarah won’t let the family be torn apart. If Evan leaves, they all will. Du Plessis encourages Evan to come with him to release the giraffe. It’s a magnificent sight.
Evan decides to take one last look at the unconscious cheetah. He’s thrilled when she stirs: she’s going to survive. Will Simon realise that Evan belongs in Africa with his new family?
|Episode 4||Evan lets the mischievous meerkats loose in Rosie’s room to cause havoc. Rosie is devastated when they destroy an irreplaceable photograph of her mother and rages at Evan. She decides once and for all to go back to Bristol.|
In the bush, Danny attempts to shoot a lioness with a tranquiliser dart in order to administer a contraceptive. Evan’s yell of excitement alerts the lioness to their presence and she runs at them. Danny manages to shoot her with the dart but it bounces out, leaving a half drugged lioness on the loose. Danny is livid.
Evan resents being told off by Danny and decides to run away, taking Olivia with him. Sarah is the first to notice that the kids have gone but can’t reach Danny, who is out searching for the lioness with Du Plessis, so she turns to Tate for help.
While Danny and Du Plessis try to track the lioness, their truck hits a termite mound and crashes, trapping Du Plessis underneath. Danny manages to pull him out, but is forced to operate on him in the bush to remove a piece of metal from his chest.
When Rosie hears that the children are missing, Themba offers to go out looking for them with her in his car. She feels it’s her fault that Evan has run away. The incident brings them much closer together.
In his helicopter with Sarah, Tate notices some people in distress on the ground. It’s Danny and Du Plessis, and Danny is anguished to learn that they were not looking for them but for the missing children. Du Plessis thinks Evan will have gone to the old bushman cave he once showed him, and Danny sets off alone to find it.
The children are frightened out of their hiding place in the cave by a snake. They head off into the bush, unaware they are being stalked by the lioness. Will Danny reach them in time?
|Episode 5||Rogue male elephants are rampaging through Leopard’s Den and destroying the family’s hard work, so Danny introduces a matriarch elephant in the hope that she will keep them in order.|
Rosie and Sarah treat themselves to a beauty session at Tate’s. Unbeknownst to Sarah, Tate dismisses the therapist and takes over massaging Sarah himself. Rosie arrives, sees what he’s doing and misreads the situation, thinking that Sarah is romantically involved with Tate.
Rosie, in a foul mood, drives back to Leopard’s Den at high speed, almost running another car off the road. Unfortunately the occupants of the car appear at Leopard’s Den claiming to be its very first paying guests, the Chapman family. Rosie realises she’s made a terrible mistake: she agreed they could bring their booking forward but failed to tell anyone. Sarah swings into action to rescue the situation.
Things get steadily worse as they run out of diesel and the generator breaks down. The devious Tate has ensured that their diesel delivery won’t arrive, so they are left without water and electricity. Sarah is forced to ask Tate to accommodate the Chapmans at Mara. Rosie’s suspicions are heightened when Sarah calls to say she’ll be staying late to have dinner with the Chapmans and Tate. Danny is appalled when Rosie voices her suspicions, though a small part of him is niggled by doubt.
The following morning Rosie decides to confront Sarah herself to find out if she’s having an affair with Tate. Sarah is gobsmacked.
Reluctantly the Chapmans return to Leopard’s Den, but are awestruck when the matriarch elephant seeks Danny out to treat her snared foot. Even the cynical Mr Chapman is captivated. Sarah tells Danny she’d walk over a million Tates with nails in her feet to get to him. Danny warns Tate never to interfere with his family again.
|Episode 6||Rosie is excitedly looking forward to the arrival of her friend Izzy, while Danny is concerned about the rumour of ivory poachers in the area. Unnoticed, Miranda the lion cub pads off into the bush.|
Miranda returns with blood on her face and when Sarah goes out to see what she’s been up to she discovers a butchered zebra. Danny is furious that one of his animals has been slaughtered by poachers so he and Du Plessis decide to stake out the area where the zebras graze. On their way they find more dead animals, but these were not killed by poachers.
Meanwhile Rosie is finding it difficult to relate to Izzy, who unintentionally upsets her by disparaging her new life in South Africa.
Danny and Du Plessis scare off the poachers, but when one of them collapses Danny insists on taking him home, much to Du Plessis’ disgust. Danny’s concern increases when the poacher reveals he ate the first dead zebra. He asks Du Plessis if there was ever anthrax at Leopard’s Den but Du Plessis angrily denies it.
When tests reveal that the animals did die from anthrax Danny imposes a quarantine on Leopard’s Den and sets to work vaccinating all the animals he can. Olivia is distraught when Miranda gets sick and disappears: she’s convinced the lion cub has gone off to die.
Sarah finds Miranda by the tourist huts, but then collapses. Danny discovers Sarah and carries her back to the house. The distressed family must wait to see if Sarah has anthrax or is just allergic to the vaccine.
The double DVD contains six episodes and is priced at just £24.99 and DVD extras include a Wild at Heart trailer, filmographies, production notes and a picture gallery.
:: Series 2
A year on, the Trevanions are finding that life on a game reserve isn’t all plain sailing. Dealing with over ambitious managers, orphaned animals, old friends and relatives proves testing for the family. Will they have to give up their African ambitions and return to England? The series has been released as a three disc set priced £24.99,a nd DVD extras include behind-the-scenes footage, filmographies, production notes and a picture gallery.
|Episode One||After a year at Leopard's Den the Trevanion family has settled into the African way of life. But business is not so good. Competition is fierce and Sarah (Amanda Holden) is struggling to find guests.|
Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) is expanding his veterinary practice. But treating the villagers' goats for free isn't helping to pay the bills. So, when Leopard's Den has its first booking to host a wedding reception, Sarah is determined to make it a success. But the eco system on the farm is out of kilter. There aren't enough prey animals and the hungry lions roam perilously close to the house in search of food.
Sarah insists Danny approach their neighbour Tate (Gary Lawson) to buy buck from him. But Danny's principles cloud his vision when he realises Tate is hunting at Mara, and he refuses to do business with him. To remedy the situation Danny and Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) attend a game auction, where they spot Tate and a tourist hunter bidding for an old white Rhino. Danny knows Tate plans to hunt it and while trying to save the rhino he loses out on the buck. Sarah is livid - the reception is only hours away and the lions are hungry.
Their problems are temporarily forgotten when Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) makes a surprise return home. Danny is disappointed to learn she's dropped out of university in the UK, but Rosie is delighted to be home. And she's thrown straight in at the deep end when Danny gets a call for help when Tate is gored by the old rhino while hunting it down. Danny, Du Plessis and Rosie rush to Mara to find Tate fighting for his life. Can Danny stem the blood flow and get Tate on the ambulance helicopter in time?
Back at Leopard's Den the wedding preparations are falling apart. Sarah is distraught but Nomsa (Nomsa Xaba) and her daughter Thandi (Busi Lurayi) come to the rescue and soon half the village turns out to help, including Max ( Martinus Van Der Berg), the new bar owner. The wedding reception is a huge success - thanks to the locals' deep respect for Danny. But, the party turns sour when Nomsa arrives with bad news about Tate.
|Episode two||It's the grand reopening of Mara and a British wildlife charity is using the event to release a vulture back into the wild. Fatani (Thapelo Mokoena), the new, ambitious manager of Mara, asks Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) to oversee the release and Sarah to help accommodate the overspill of guests. It's a real coup for the Trevanions - the extra money and publicity should help keep the bailiffs at bay. |
The charity entourage arrive. Spokesperson Tessa Roebuck (Samantha Janus), glamorous but fading TV star, Dora Aitken (Edith MacArthur) - life long patron of the charity, her husband Bill (Geoffrey Hutchings) and the star attraction Vinnie the vulture.
Danny's not convinced Vinnie is fit for release. After a life in captivity he's too domesticated and too fat to fly. But, to Sarah's (Amanda Holden) annoyance, Tessa bats her eyelashes and persuades Danny to proceed with the release.
As Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) gets to know Dora and her grumbling husband Bill, she hears how they met 30 years ago and had their first kiss under the stars while on an African safari. Dora asks Rosie to help put the spark back in her marriage. And Rosie enlists the help of Max (Martinus Van Der Berg ) to create a romantic, tented safari in the bush.
As Vinnie is released back into the wild, the champagne flows at Mara. But next door Thandi (Busi Lurayi) has her hands full with Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson). But when she manages to scare off the bailiffs she wins their new found respect. On the way back from dropping Dora and Bill to their camp, Rosie and Max find a badly injured Vinnie on the roadside. Danny was right, he wasn't ready to be released and with a badly shattered wing his chances of survival are low. With Fatani and Tessa desperate to keep the truth from the assembled media the pressure is on Danny to do the right thing. They turn the event around and are rewarded for their decency when Dora and Bill return from a night under the stars and realise that Leopard's Den is a very special place.
|Episode three||A sick and orphaned baby elephant is being nursed at Leopard's Den. But, despite Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Du Plessis' (Deon Stewardson) constant vigil, Togo is dying from a broken heart. |
Evan is distraught and Du Plessis promises they will look after her together. But when a young man called Kirk (Wayne Van Rooyen) arrives claiming to be Du Plessis' son - Togo is soon forgotten. Du Plessis is shocked and at first refuses to believe a word Kirk says, even Sarah (Amanda Holden) and Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) are suspicious. When he presents them with photographic proof, Du Plessis is forced to admit he had an affair when he was in the army. It seems there's some truth in what Kirk is saying after all.
Sarah has to return to England after the news that her father has died. And Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) tries her hand at being the Leopard's Den ranger. One of the guests, Bennett (David Westhead), a safari enthusiast, quickly suspects Rosie is a fraud. Du Plessis accepts Kirk is his son and welcomes him to stay. Danny is pleased to see Du Plessis so happy, but Evan doesn't share in the joy. Togo's condition has deteriorated and Du Plessis is so pre occupied with Kirk he's broken his promise to help. Rosie's suspicions are aroused when she catches Kirk snooping around Du Plessis' study. Then, when a disgruntled Bennett reports his camera and signet ring missing, Rosie suspects Kirk is the Leopard's Den thief.
Danny and Rosie secretly search Kirk's bags but are caught red-handed - Du Plessis feels betrayed, especially as the search recovers none of the stolen items. Kirk is innocent - and Du Plessis is adamant he's here to stay.
In a desperate bid to save the baby elephant's life, Evan takes Togo to find new parents in the bush. Du Plessis and Danny put their differences aside to save Evan, who has a guilty confession to make regarding the stolen items. Du Plessis is devastated when Kirk returns to the city but the Trevanions are on hand to help heal his broken heart.
|Episode four||Sarah's absence couldn't have come at a worse time for Leopard's Den. Nature Conservation is carrying out its annual inspection and everything must be tip top as Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) is determined to pass with flying colours. Rosie has already put a feather in their cap by successfully pairing orphaned elephant Togo with a surrogate mother so the family head to Max's bar to celebrate. |
The next morning the hangovers worsen when Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) and Danny discover the watering hole is drying up and Rosie finds Togo has been stolen by poachers - and all on the morning of their annual inspection. To make matters worse, Du Plessis learns the inspector is an old adversary called Hibbitt.
Danny discovers new building works at Mara are the cause of their diminishing water supply. But Fatani (Thapelo Mokoena) refuses to stop drilling and Hibbitt tells Danny he'll lose his wildlife permit if he can't water his animals. Danny suspects Hibbitt is holding a grudge and begs Du Plessis to apologise.
Evan and Olivia are appalled at Fatani and hatch their own revenge. They steal his mother's dog to use as ransom.
In spite of Danny's plea to stay out of it, Rosie enlists Max's (Martinus Ven Der Berg) help to find Togo. And their efforts pay off when they trace him to a deserted warehouse. Hibbitt is impressed but it's not enough to change his mind. Without adequate water he has no option but to close them down. Danny and the family are devastated - their future at Leopard's Den is hanging in the balance.
Du Plessis realises he's got to pull out all the stops to get Hibbitt on their side. So he helps him lay a few ghosts to rest and Hibbitt finally puts the past behind him. But the water situation remains and the animals are now dying of thirst. Danny decides enough is enough -Fatani has met his match. Everyone applauds as Danny jumps in his truck and crashes through the fences that divide Leopard's Den and Mara. If his thirsty animals can't drink at Leopard's Den then they'll just have to drink from the water hole at Mara…
|Episode Five||Everyone's excited at the prospect of Leopard Den's new arrival. Bash (Tony Haygarth), Danny's (Stephen Tompkinson) old tutor and Rosie's (Lucy-Jo Hudson) godfather, is coming from England to help Danny expand his veterinary practice. Everyone that is, except Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) - who reckons the last thing they need in Africa is another Englishman. |
When a sick cheetah starts attacking goats in the local village, Bash is thrown in at the deep end. He diagnoses a large abscess and thinks they should put the cheetah down - without its bite it won't survive in the wild. But Danny's keen to save it and insists they operate. It's no surprise to Bash, that Danny hasn't lost his 'bunny-hugging' ways.
The next morning Danny pays Fatani (Thapelo Mokoena) a visit. He suspects the ageing cheetah belongs to him and he's bought it on the cheap. Fatani, of course, denies it.
When Bash confuses Sarah (Amanda Holden) with Danny's first wife Miranda, it becomes apparent that Bash isn't well. Rosie is even more disturbed when she overhears Bash tell Sarah her mother left Danny for another man when she was only a baby - something Rosie didn't know. Despite Sarah's concerns that Bash maybe suffering from the onset of Alzheimer's, Danny chooses to ignore it.
But, when the operation on the cheetah goes badly wrong, Bash brings a poisonous snake into the house, and then goes missing in the bush; Danny is forced to face some home truths. Like the cheetah, Bash is too old and frail to survive in Africa - its time for Bash to go home. And so, the family say their farewells. Danny is devastated but Sarah tells Danny he can do it on his own. And after all these years Rosie learns the truth about her mum.
|Episode 6||The Trevanions are delighted when Fatani (Thapelo Mokoena) asks Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) to take an aggressive hippo off his hands. As they prepare for the new arrival Sarah (Amanda Holden) gets a huge shock when her mother Caroline (Hayley Mills) pips the hippo at the post. It's not exactly a warm welcome. Caroline and Sarah have never seen eye to eye and old resentments soon bubble to the surface. Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson) aren't too impressed with their granny either. In fact, Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) is the only one who seems delighted at the glamorous new edition.|
Caroline parachutes herself into Leopard's Den disrupting the family's hard-earned harmony. Before long she's rowed with Sarah and made her crash the jeep, got them into debt with Fatani and even Du Plessis starts to realise she's a pain. Then, just when things can't get any worse, she interferes with two celebrity guests desperate for some privacy. The paparazzi are on their way and Sarah tells Caroline enough is enough - she has to go home.
Meanwhile Danny and Du Plessis struggle to settle the hippo. It's reluctant to leave its pen and Danny fears it will never be happy in its new home. But Caroline believes she's worked it out - the hippo has fallen for a buffalo, also housed in the pens, and doesn't want to leave its new friend. Danny's not convinced. But when he puts the beasts in the same water hole everyone's surprised to discover Caroline is right.
Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) is dealing with her own romantic turmoil. Max (Martinus Van Der Berg) is still going out with Thandi (Busi Lurayi), and while Rosie is attracted to him she knows she has to walk away and do the right thing.
Sarah and her mum finally lay a few ghosts to rest, and just as Caroline is about to leave Sarah caves in and asks her to stay. Although Caroline would never admit it, returning to England is a lonely prospect. And so she accepts. Seems Leopard's Den has a new permanent addition.
|Episode 7||Sarah's (Amanda Holden) ex husband, Simon (Vincent Regan) is arriving from England to get married at Leopard's Den. But Sarah has other things on her mind - she thinks she might be pregnant.|
When Simon arrives with fiancée Gloria (Lucy Liemann), Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson) are thrilled. Caroline (Hayley Mills) always had a soft spot for Simon and plans to throw him a lavish wedding by the water-hole.
Sarah takes a pregnancy test but Danny's (Stephen Tompkinson) excitement is short-lived when Sarah tells him it's negative. She's relieved and confesses to Danny she's not sure she wants any more children. The business is finally taking off and she doesn't want to give up her career for another baby. Danny is devastated.
The family take Simon and Gloria to release a giraffe back into the wild. Simon's impressed at how far the business has come. Caroline takes great delight in giving Sarah all the credit prompting Simon to make an offer of investment. Sarah thinks they should consider it but Danny is adamant he will never take Simon's money. Simon suspects all is not well with Danny and Sarah.
Meanwhile, with not enough work at Leopard's Den for two rangers, Rosie is feeling redundant. So when Fatani offers her a job at Mara Rosie leaps at the chance. Danny gives his blessing but Max (Martinus Van Der Berg) warns Rosie, Fatani may have ulterior motives.
Later, Caroline takes Gloria to see what she's created with the water-hole. Gloria is thrilled until Caroline tells her it's obvious to everyone that Simon still loves Sarah. Gloria tells Simon the wedding is off. Out in the bush Danny is checking on the giraffe when a vial of tranquiliser explodes in his face. It's potentially lethal and he can't inject the antidote alone. Back at the house Simon is so busy making a pass at Sarah, no one hears Danny on the radio. Who will come to Danny's rescue?
|Episode 8||Danny is undertaking a drugs trial at Leopard's Den. But de-worming wildebeest isn't Caroline's idea of fun. She hates animals and despite her best efforts only succeeds in getting in the way. After a huge row with Danny she announces she's leaving. |
Distraction arrives when a light aircraft crash lands at Leopard's Den. Caroline takes a shine to its only occupant, smooth-talking Gerald (David Warner). She's soon playing Florence Nightingale making Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) seethe with envy.
Danny's delighted when scientist Trevor (Mark Elderkin) announces the drug trials a success, the cheetah he's been testing is worm free. Looking for some romantic distraction of her own, Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) asks Trevor out to celebrate.
Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson) discover Gerald's secret cargo - his chimp Billy. Gerald confesses to Caroline he was entering the country illegally; his chimp isn't indigenous to South Africa. He fears if Danny finds him, he'll turn them into the authorities. Gerald charms Caroline and she agrees to keep his secret providing she can escape with him to The Cape.
Du Plessis finds a very sick cheetah and Danny fears an exotic virus is to blame. When the chimp is exposed, Trevor agrees it could be the carrier and the chimp is to be quarantined. Danny is furious at Caroline for keeping the secret and all hell breaks lose when Gerald tries to escape. But when Evan and Olivia are put at risk he's forced to tell Caroline the full story. His house in the Cape doesn't exist and he's in exile from the Congo. Gerald is a lonely old fantasist and Caroline feels like a fool.
Then, in the middle of the night, someone sets the chimp free. Gerald denies it and he, Danny and Du Plessis set out to find her. They need to find and kill the chimp before the disease spreads any further. Back at Leopard's Den Rosie wonders why Trevor is making a hasty exit. Could his drug testing really be the cause of all the problems? And if so will Rosie be in time to save Billy the chimp?
|Episode 9||It's Du Plessis' 60th birthday and he has no intentions of celebrating. But the Trevanions have other ideas and Caroline (Hayley Mills) is organising a surprise party. Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) isn't just grumpy about getting older. He's been having chest pains and hiding it from the rest of the family. |
Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) occupies Du Plessis by taking him to ultrasound a lioness to see if she's pregnant. It's not good news - the lioness hasn't conceived and Danny suspects the problem lies with the old male lion Hobie. His solution is to ask Fatani if they can borrow a younger more virile lion to get their lioness pregnant. Du Plessis doesn't like it and thinks Hobie will perish in the fight for dominance.
Business at Mara has slumped and Fatani's (Thapelo Mokoena) boss, Kenyetta, is paying a visit to find out why. Fatani is convinced he's going to get the sack, but Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) promises to help impress Kenyetta.
Du Plessis' party is interrupted by the sound of Hobie bellowing in the bush. Du Plessis' fears Hobie has been killed. But Du Plessis is proved wrong when they find the Mara lion wounded. A jubilant Du Plessis races his old friends, Cory and Barry, home but his chest pains worsen and he crashes the jeep injuring Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson).
Back at Mara Rosie returns a satisfied Kenyetta. As Fatani thanks Rosie for all her support he makes a terrible pass at her. Rosie is furious and resigns.
Du Plessis confesses he's been diagnosed with angina. He tells Danny, he's getting old and its time for him to step down from Leopard's Den. The family is devastated, but Danny won't listen and convinces Du Plessis to help him with their lioness. Out in the bush Danny tries to inseminate the lioness. But she stops breathing and they try to resuscitate her. Suddenly a prowling Hobie descends on them and Danny and Du Plessis run for their lives. Back at Leopard's Den they see the distress flare and arrive to find Danny holding a badly injured Du Plessis in his arms. They're rushed to hospital and the family fear the worst for Du Plessis…
|Episode 10||All is quiet at Leopard's Den as Sarah (Amanda Holden), Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson) gather at the hospital. Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) has been given the all clear to go home. But Du Plessis is still unconscious and seriously ill. Caroline (Hayley Mills) keeps a tender vigil at his bedside. |
Racked with guilt, Sarah has to convince Danny the mauling wasn't his fault - it was just a horrible accident. She needs Danny back at Leopard's Den for their first game capture. He thinks they should cancel but Sarah tells him Du Plessis would want it to go ahead. They're selling their first ever stock to Fatani and it's a proud moment for them all. Danny reluctantly agrees and Sarah takes him home. Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) is delighted to see her Dad and asks Fatani for time off to help.
Danny's first patient is an injured elephant that's been caught on some wire fencing. He heads into the bush but when faced with the beast something prevents him from getting closer. To his own horror he turns his back on the elephant and leaves it untreated.
That night, Danny is tormented by terrible nightmares of the lion attack and he wakes dripping in sweat. Although his physical injuries are slight, the psychological damage is taking its toll.
Back at the hospital, Caroline is relieved when Du Plessis regains consciousness and demands to be taken home. He soon tests everyone's patience by ignoring doctor's orders and insisting he sleep on the verandah. But facing death has made Du Plessis reflective and he plucks up the courage to ask Caroline to marry him. What will her answer be?
The next day Rosie is alarmed to find the elephant still wounded. She confronts Danny who lies and tells her he treated it. Max (Martinus Van Der Berg) advises Rosie to give Danny some tough love; he needs to get back into the saddle. And so Rosie takes her Dad into the bush to see the elephant. Danny is furious but when he tries to show Rosie he's not scared he only breaks down in tears.
Sarah can't believe she underestimated Danny's psychological trauma and demands they cancel the game capture. Then when Fatani makes a very generous offer for Leopard's Den, Sarah wonders if they should take it. Danny is torn. While he promises Sarah he will never risk his life again, he knows Du Plessis is right - if he's not a wildlife vet in Africa - then who is he? After a sleepless night, Danny makes up his mind. He needs to find out if he can hack it and so sets off on the game capture with Rosie and Max at his side.
The game capture boys give Danny a hard time and for a moment it looks like he's lost his bottle. But, when a wildebeest gets injured, Danny bravely runs into the stampede to save it. Rosie is thrilled. Looks like her Dad can cut it after all.
When they get back home Danny takes the family into the bush to see him treat the elephant. But they watch in horror as Hobie the lion stalks towards him. Can Danny beat his demons and face the dangers of life as a bush vet?
:: Series 3
|Episode One||Business at Leopard's Den isn't yet flourishing, so Sarah (Amanda Holden) decides that new luxury accommodation which will attract wealthy guests is the answer to their financial problems. |
Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) is finding it tough to juggle mending the fences, his veterinary practice and the health of his animals. A zebra dies unexpectedly, and he needs to stop whatever killed it spreading to other animals.
Sarah is on a shopping trip with her mother Caroline (Hayley), purchasing soft furnishings for the new accommodation, when there is a problem with Sarah's card. The bank has frozen her credit as they are constantly overdrawn.
Zebras slip through the damaged fencing into the neighbouring reserve, Mara, angering the manager, Fatani (Thapelo Mokoena). As Danny tries to smooth things over he finds two tiger cubs in Fatani's 'zoo for endangered species' and is outraged, especially as they are not indigenous to Africa so he demands to see their papers. Sarah wants to tell Danny about their financial situation, but Caroline won't allow her, insisting it will be okay after the inspector has visited and upgraded Leopard's Den. However when the new fencing isn't delivered the following day, Danny is informed that his cheque bounced.
Later Fatani arrives to accuse Danny of taking his missing tiger cubs. Danny knows nothing about it but in retaliation, Fatani lures away workers from Leopard's Den with the promise of instant cash. Things go from bad to worse when Danny learns that his lab bills are still outstanding. This makes him realise it was all down to Sarah and Caroline's spending. He is very angry with Sarah for her deceit.
Danny works out that Evan is involved in the disappearance of the tiger cubs. Fatani threatens police action if the cubs are not returned but he doesn't bank on the combined force of the Trevanions and their desire to protect these rare animals.
When the inspector arrives the next day the lodges are still far from finished. The inspector is appalled at the shambolic nature of the place, but Sarah has come to understand that Leopard's Den should never be about superficial luxuries.
|Episode Two||On completing his annual animal census, Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) makes the alarming discovery that there are no male cheetah on the reserve. Meanwhile tension between Sarah (Amanda Holden) and Caroline (Hayley Mills) is at an all time high and in a fit of pique, Sarah fires her own mother. |
Vet students Glenn (Jamie Doyle) and Caitlin (Elen Rhys) are at Leopard's Den for a work placement, after which Danny will choose which one will be his vet assistant for a year. This annoys Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson) who has started to enjoy assisting her dad. And she doesn't appreciate Caitlin flirting with her boyfriend, Max (Martinus Van Der Berg). When Danny bawls her out for being late for a game drive, Rosie quits.
Sarah is astonished to discover Caroline is the new deputy manager of Mara. But Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) is fed up with all the upheaval at Leopard's Den and hatches a plan to get everything to go back to normal. Enlisting Caroline's help, he 'borrows' a cheetah from Mara and hints to Rosie that there still may be one male cheetah at Leopard's Den. Rosie is delighted when she finds the animal. However, success quickly turns to disaster when she insists on anaesthetising it. When he wakes up early and races out of the surgery, smashing up equipment and injuring himself in the process Rosie is devastated.
Du Plessis' plan has backfired in more ways than one. Fatani (Thapelo Mokoena) found his perimeter fence had been forced and fired one of his rangers. The rest of the Mara staff go on strike in protest leaving Fatani and Caroline struggling to run the place by themselves.
Just when Rosie thinks things can't get any worse, she sees Max and Caitlin embracing and assumes the worst. She decides there's nothing to keep her in Africa, so she will move back to England.
At Mara, Fatani, desperate to keep his guests happy, asks Caroline to do a game drive and she agrees on the condition he re-hire the ranger. Disaster strikes when the game vehicle gets stuck in a ditch and a pair of lions surround Caroline and the guests.
Rosie is packing her suitcase when Evan (Luke Ward Wilkinson) comes to tell her the cheetah is in trouble. The vet students are panicking and Danny, Sarah and Du Plessis have rushed off to save Caroline, so Rosie takes charge. She disagrees with the students over the diagnosis. Over the radio Danny tells her to listen to the students but she disobeys him. Danny races back. He's convinced that Rosie's actions have killed the cheetah, but the animal survives. Danny sees that his daughter has the kind of instinct that a vet needs and decides that Rosie should have the assistant's place ahead of the two students. But Rosie has lost confidence in her abilities and still wants to leave.
On the pretext of releasing the cheetah into the wild, Danny takes Rosie into the bush, where Max is waiting. He explains that he was comforting Caitlin, who was upset because she underdosed the cheetah. Rosie didn't do anything wrong - and neither did he.
|Episode 3||Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) has an elephant problem: there is not enough space for their growing numbers at Leopard's Den. The elephants have eaten all the available foliage and are beginning to fight over food, and injure each other. If Danny can't solve this problem, Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) tells him, the only humane thing to do will be to cull some of the elephants. |
Sarah (Amanda Holden) has her work cut out with the first guests in the new luxury lodge: a hen party of excitable young women. And Du Plessis's son, Kirk (Wayne Van Rooyen), arrives with his girlfriend, Neema (Kim Cloete), and Du Plessis is thrilled to discover he is going to be a granddad.
Fatani (Thapelo Mokoena) is nervous, because Mara's new owner is arriving. But Elliot Kriel (Craig Gardener) turns out to be a really good guy. One of the first things he does is invite the Trevanions over for a meal so he can get to know his neighbours.
Kirk breaks Du Plessis' heart when he reveals that he and Neema intend to move to America to raise their child. Du Plessis hits the bottle to alleviate his sorrow.
When Kriel needs a replacement guide for some of Mara's guests - a group of rich, demanding bankers - he asks for Danny's help and in return, the larger Mara will take some of Danny's starving elephants. But when Danny has to attend to an injured elephant Du Plessis volunteers to take the guests instead.
The bankers get into trouble on their game drive and blame Du Plessis. An angry Kriel shocks Danny by withdrawing his offer to take the elephants. Danny blames Du Plessis, who starts drinking heavily again.
Rosie (Lucy Jo Hudson) calls Danny away to investigate a giraffe problem near the fence with Mara. It seems the new electric fence Fatani has installed is hurting the giraffes.
While Danny is away, one of the injured Leopard's Den elephants finally dies of its wounds. Its mate is driven wild with grief, and a drunken Du Plessis decides the only humane thing to do is to cull it.
Kirk tries to stop his father, but the gun goes off, and the enraged elephant breaks out of its pen. It threatens to attack Neema, but Du Plessis heroically scares it off. But the shock is too much, and the pregnant Neema goes into premature labour. There is no time to get her to a hospital, so Danny must deliver the baby in his vet's surgery.
Danny and Kriel finally learn of the bankers' lies - and Max organises a suitable punishment with the help of the hen party girls.
Kriel has one final surprise for Danny. He has a revolutionary answer to all of their problems - tearing down the fence between Mara and Leopard's Den. This would create one massive game reserve that they will both share where all the animals can roam freely together in an enlarged space.
|Episode 4||Danny is shocked when Elaine (Maggie O'Neill), his old flame from veterinary college, turns up with a tranquilised lioness which she claims to have found in the bush. Sarah is disquieted at Danny's reaction to seeing Elaine again.|
It soon becomes clear that Elaine has not told the whole truth when a man from Catabele, a nearby game park, reveals that one of his lionesses, destined to be shot in a hunt, has been stolen. Danny confronts Elaine who denies taking the lioness, but Sarah's suspicions are raised.
After some internet lessons from Evan (Luke Ward Wilkinson), Du Plessis (Deon Stewardson) secretly goes on a dating website but Caroline knows he's up to something.
Kriel has discovered a problem: in the new merged reserve there aren't enough prey animals for the two lion prides. They need to buy more animals so Du Plessis volunteers to visit the auction. He has an ulterior motive for going to the auction thanks to his online dating, but to his dismay Caroline decides to accompany him to take care of the money. At the auction Du Plessis waits for hours for his date and eventually Tina, a female version of Du Plessis, shows up. They get on like a house on fire but when Tina meets Caroline she's curious about Du Plessis' relationship with her.
Danny is oblivious to the fact that Elaine still has feelings for him, but Sarah is starting to worry. Sarah is furious with Danny when Mr Castle returns to demand his lioness back. Danny promises to sort it out, but Elaine has already released the lioness.
Evan has been off school for a few days as his teacher has been sick. On his return to school he is mortified to discover that the replacement teacher is Sarah. She struggles to maintain order at school as the kids play tricks on her. Evan tells Sarah she needs to win the kids over.
Danny desperately searches for the lioness but without success. He fears she won't survive long in the wild. Elaine is defiant about her actions but Danny spells out some home truths. The next morning Elaine finds the lioness badly mauled.
Danny brings the lioness into his surgery - where he's astonished to find a room full of Sarah's schoolkids. It was Evan's idea to bring them and they are eager to help. Danny removes the lioness' identifying microchip and Sarah has an idea.
While Du Plessis was out with Tina, Caroline had to step in to buy the prey animals. After discovering the wildebeest have mange, Caroline buys ostriches instead. A grumpy Du Plessis has to admit that Caroline did the right thing.
Mr Castle returns to claim his lioness. He's faced with a load of kids and Elaine, who pretends to be from the local paper. When his reader fails to detect the microchip, he's forced to admit defeat. Elaine takes her leave, having realised she can never come between Sarah and Danny.