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Britain's Tiger Kings On The Trail With Ross Kemp: Actor Announces New Documentary On ITV

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Britain's Tiger Kings On The Trail With Ross Kemp: Actor Announces New Documentary On ITV

Our first lockdown saw us obsess over Tiger King, which explored the weird world of Joe Exotic and his intense rivalry with fellow exotic animal keeper Carole Baskin.

And now, nearly one year on, it looks as if Britain is getting its own equivalent to the smash-hit Netflix documentary, with Ross Kemp travelling across the UK to find our home-grown Joe Exotics here in Blighty.

Tiger King was an international smash last year (Credit: Netflix)
Tiger King was an international smash last year (Credit: Netflix)

The new two part documentary, titled Britain's Tiger Kings - On The Trail With Ross Kemp, sees award-winning documentary-maker Ross going on a journey to discover why anyone would want to keep a 250kg feline, and asking whether it is in the best interests of the animal to do so.

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Surprisingly, it is thought there are as many as 4,000 animals including lions, tigers, bears, crocodiles and giant snakes in private hands in the country - with Ross meeting the owners of just some of these wild creatures.

The documentary will see Ross meet a man who keeps two lions in his back garden, and a couple who have used the profits from their scrap metal business to build a 200-strong animal collection. The former EastEnders star also meets a former circus trainer who now trains animals for television programmes, films and adverts who keeps tigers among his menagerie.

Ross Kemp will look at home-grown 'Tiger Kings' (Credit: PA Images)
Ross Kemp will look at home-grown 'Tiger Kings' (Credit: PA Images)

Elsewhere in the series, Ross will see how two big cats have divided the village where they live - while some have expressed concern about their welfare, their owner insists they love him and are just like "big puppies".

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And Ross himself will get up close and personal with these mighty creatures, as a trip to Munich sees him locked in a cage with a lion.

Speaking about his new documentary, Ross explained: "When I first started making these films I didn't think it was possible to privately own a lion or a tiger in this country. I've found it truly eye-opening and disturbing to discover just how easy it is to source one and get permission to keep it legally.

"These programmes explore what motivates someone to want to own a wild animal - whether it be a tiger, a lion, a 20ft snake or even a crocodile, and whether it is right to do so. It certainly is a complex and emotive subject, and I found that some of the people who kept wild animals were quite extraordinary.

"It's important to remember that all the big cats I came into contact with were born into captivity and therefore wouldn't survive in the wild. But when I asked if they would consider sending their cat to a sanctuary which offers something close to a natural habitat - the answer was often no."

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Carole Baskin became a celebrity after the series (Credit: Netflix)
Carole Baskin became a celebrity after the series (Credit: Netflix)

Britain's Tiger Kings - On The Trail With Ross Kemp will air later in Spring on ITV. An exact date is still to be confirmed.

When it was released on Netflix in March last year, Tiger King became almost an instant worldwide success, making celebrities of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin.

The pair were the subjects of memes, songs and campaigns - with Carole even going on to feature on American reality series Dancing With The Stars.

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Tiger King is still available to watch on Netflix.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: Tiger King, TV News, TV & Film, TV Entertainment, Documentary, ITV

Kimberley Bond
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