Animal Impossible Gives Us A New Perspective on Wildlife
BBC Earth is at it again with a brand-new show Animal Impossible. Its premise is to serve us the truth and bust myths about the vast animal kingdom, bridging the gap between humans and animals. Musawenkosi Gebuza chats to the team: Producer James Reed, Series Producer Ben Roy, and Presenters Tim Warwood and Adam Gendle from BBC Studios.
Animal Impossible is the best combination of high-end natural history with great fun entertainment, made totally accessible for a whole new audience. Our two presenters Tim and Gendle are insatiably curious, very funny and up for anything and will take our audiences on thrilling and often unexpected scientific adventures.
Which was the most difficult animal to capture on camera?
The animals we chose to capture are those we found fairly easy to get close to, considering that Tim and Adam are part of the audience and we wanted to give them a close encounter with the animals that we think we know or we know certain things about. What was a bit tricky was getting exciting facts about them!
You also shot in South Africa, what was the experience like?
The first time we shot on safari, and then we went to Mossel Bay for the shark episode and spent 10 days on the boats watching the great white sharks swimming around the boat every day – which was unbelievable for me because I’ve never seen a shark in my life before. We found it interesting that people around us and helping us found it normal for sharks to be swimming around them. We found that trip to be exceptional. On the last day, we even got the opportunity to actually surf in Cape Town. But in terms of diversity of wildlife, South Africa is an amazing country to visit, it also made it easy to do our job with everything fairly close to wherever we were filming.
Were there any dangerous locations that you guys shot at?
Guyana and the jungle with all the poisonous spiders and snakes were rather dangerous, but luckily, we didn’t see any of those at the end of the day. We were out in the middle of nowhere with only one satellite phone and were on a boat for like, nine hours. And of course, the main worry out there was the poisonous snakes.
What was the biggest animal you’ve managed to capture yet?
The bull must have been the biggest, but the grizzly bear in Montana that was hand-raised by a cultivation activist from a bear preservative organisation. That grizzly bear is huge. It’s 10 years old and 9ft tall.
What was the scariest moment for you?
The scariest moment was when we were dangling above spiders and for me, it has to be the sharks in South Africa.
Ep 1: Cats Always Land on Their Feet
To prove this FACT is not as easy as it sounds – as Gendle is not allowed to ‘drop’ a cat so instead they set out on an adventure that includes, meeting the fastest cats on Earth, discovering what terminal velocity means and how the secret lies with a wildcat called a caracal. Culminating in Zero Gravity just to discover if there really is an exception to the rule.
Location: Namibia, USA, UK
Ep 2: An Eagle Can Lift a Child
Triggered by a clip off the internet- the lads set out to discover just how powerful Eagles really are by going head-to-head with the world’s most powerful bird of prey, climbing a tower in the African bush, learning how to build a robotic bird and challenging one of the world’s most powerful helicopters to a weight lifting competition. Before proving once and for all can an Eagle really lift a child?!
Location: South Africa, Germany, UK
Ep 3: Sharks Are Mindless Man-Eaters
Gendle is convinced they are not, Tim is not so sure – so the two embark on an adventure that sees them encounter a robotic shark, discover cichlid fish have quite good memories and ultimately end up in a heart-stopping encounter with a great white.
Location: South Africa, USA, Germany
Ep 4: If You Are Attacked by a Bear, Play Dead
Tim & Gendle explore the best and safest protocol around this well-versed FACT. And in doing so discover exactly what bear-proof engineering means, just how powerful a body-slamming grizzly really is, and the truth about pandas. Before bringing all their new found knowledge to put nature to the test and try and outwit some bears.
Location: China, USA, UK
Ep 5: Spider Silk is Stronger than Steel
In which case if true why isn’t everything made of Spider Silk? Tim and Gendle investigate and uncover the amazing properties of this natural material, harvest silk from spiders in the rainforest, milk some transgenic goats (it makes sense in the show) and the ultimately end up in death-defying highline stunt worthy of Spider-Man, himself.
Locations: Costa Rica, China, USA
Ep 6: Bulls Hate the Colour Red
It’s such a well-known fact that it seems ridiculous to challenge it – but challenge it the boys do – and in doing so learn how to become Cowboys, meet some really wild Bulls, uncover what the world looks like to a Bull, as well as discover what the colour red means to us humans Before ultimately one of them going in with an angry Bull dressed in, yes you guessed it, Red just to prove fact from fiction.
Locations: USA, China, UK
Ep7: You Can’t Fool a Sniffer Dog
Dogs are pretty amazing – but surely a human can outsmart a dog’s nose? How hard can it be? The lads set out to see if they can win against man’s best friend – and on the journey discover just how amazing dogs noses truly are, by meeting a wolf pack, smuggling drugs from US Custom officials, and ultimately setting out to evade a police dog manhunt, when one of them is the target.
Locations: USA, Morocco, UK
Ep 8: A Giant Squid Can Sink a Ship
Straight from the Science fiction fantasy novels – but is it true? Tim & Gendle set out to try and discover first and foremost if such a thing as Giant Squid even exists, before meeting an octopus wrestler, going for a dive in a submarine, a German robotics lab, a world champion round the world sailor – before ultimately testing it all out on someone’s boat – to prove it once and for all.
Location: Canada, UK
Ep 9: Piranhas Can Strip You to the Bone in Seconds
A classic horror film baddie – but are they really that bad? There is only way to find out. The boys head to South America, to uncover an old US Presidents story, meet some local fishermen, perform an industrial experiment with mechanical jaws that has to culminate in one of them facing a swim through a tank of these fish – are they really as bad as people say?
Location: Guyana, UK
Ep 10: An Electric Eel Can Kill You
All life is Electric – No says Tim you’re thinking about Robots – and that is what leads our two explorers off on an adventure to South America to track down the most dangerous of all electric animals just to see just how powerful they really are – and in doing so discover it’s not volts that kill you but amps, how these animals inspired the original battery and even that plants can move – before one of them has to face facts and a Taser Gun to prove once and for all if an Electric Eel can indeed kill you.
Location: Guyana, Germany, UK, USA
For those in search of an afternoon on the couch exploring the wonders of our natural world, this will be a treat. Some of the most fascinating facts will be revealed – like goldfish actually retaining memory for up to a year! Wow! Watch Animal Impossible on BBC Earth every Sunday at 4 pm on DStv Channel 184 for a boost of knowledge packed with crazy action.