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Wild at Heart
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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
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I am in Canada and find it hard to get some of the BBC shows it is so frustrating.
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Second marriage of Vet. Danny Trevanion (Stephen Tomkinson) and Sarah (Amanda Holden) also unites their previous-marriage kids. One happy family? Not always. The Dr's girl, Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson), missing her deceased real mom, often conflicts with her step-mom. She blends better with Sarah's children brought into the family group, Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson). Sweet Olivia is reminiscent of Drew Barrymore's child role in "ET."
The family takes a holiday to South Africa with the purpose of returning a rescued pet vervet monkey, Valentine, to the wild. Danny is offered a veterinarian position on a dilapidated bush farm owned by Anders Du Plessis, Afrikaner (Deon Stewardson). Danny & Sarah make a decision. That's episode one, and it just gets better and better with each episode. Every episode is just shy of 50 minutes.
Throughout the DVD set, you will encounter wild animals and South African vistas that are enchanting. The story is relationship drama with plenty of action and suspense. The visual aspect of the setting is comparable to the best of African bush documentaries. What a fantastic combination, to say nothing of the background African music.
Disney could have done no better.
Episode 2: Wendy, a cheetah with a broken leg, is saved by Evan and then by Danny, followed by Danny saving Olivia's life. The 3 family girls meet Alex Tate (Gary Lawson), a neighbor with a game/resort farm which really does look like a Disneyland in Africa. And you'll meet Miranda, a baby lion.
#3: Sarah's ex-husband Simon (Vincent Regan) visits Africa demanding his children, Evan & Olivia. Ruby Robson (Stacey Roca), young lover causing the divorce, tags along, and all family members deal with past torn-family relationships and face decisions.
#4 Evan & Olivia run away, a semi-drugged lion is on the run, everyone is looking for someone, but who will find what, first? Rosie finds Themba (Siyabonga Shibe), finds him quite nice.
#5 The Trevanion females, elephants, naked massage, zebras, Tate, paying guests, and diesel fuel all become a part of the current problems.
#6 Poachers arrive with other unexplained animal death that threatens all life at Leopard's Den. Is it Anthrax? Malaria?
"No one who is loved, ever really dies."
This DVD set was largely selected by me because the cover photo looked like good family viewing. IT IS THAT! Highly recommended even though it has no subtitles or closed captioning. I rarely needs it. What it offers makes up for any shortcoming--WITH ONE EXCEPTION. This is the first of several years of "Wild at Heart" TV production. Please, please, Acorn Media, give us another Series.
Bonus stuff includes production notes and more fabulous photography in gallery format. The only thing better to do than buying this DVD set is to travel in person to South Africa.