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The first series from television that follows the lives of the Trevanion family in the African Heartland. Danny Trevanion is a vet with an 18 year old daughter, Rosie, and they live with his new wife Sarah and her children Olivia and Eva. When Danny saves the life of an African monkey Sarah suggests they all go to Africa to re-home it. And there begins the start of a new life and adventure for the Trevanion family.
The beauty of the African landscape--and the magnificent animals that live there--forms a stellar setting for the warm but realistic family dynamics of the BBC series Wild at Heart. The first episode wastes very little time taking British veterinarian Danny Trevanion (Stephen Tompkinson, Ballykissangel) and his family down to South Africa to return a rescued monkey into the wild. But once they arrive at a run-down yet intriguing game preserve, Danny's wife Sarah (Amanda Holden) sees how life on the savannah might unite their stitched-together family (Evan and Olivia, her young son and daughter from a previous marriage, and Rosie, his teenage daughter who still mourns losing her mother to cancer). They form a partnership with a crusty old Afrikaaner and struggle to turn their small preserve into a thriving destination for tourists and animals in need. Wild at Heart works because it isn't The Brady Bunch--the fractures left by divorce and grief aren't glossed over, and the genuine threats of their new life (from wild beasts, disease, and competition from a rival commercial game preserve) loom on all sides. But watching the Trevanion family bond to each other and to the glories of Africa is warm and satisfying. The cast is charming, particularly Luke Ward-Wilkinson as the sensitive son Evan (Lucy-Jo Hudson, as teenaged Rosie, is a bit irritating at first, but gradually redeems herself). This series--which has several more seasons to follow--skillfully balances adventure and domestic drama and grows more engaging with each episode. --Bret Fetzer