Spy In The Wild – Series 2

Spy in the Wild is back in one of the most innovative natural history series ever presented. This time it deploys over 50 ultra-realistic animatronic Spy Creatures to go undercover across every region of the world. The 4 x 60 BBC One series captures some of the most extraordinary animal behaviour ever seen, filmed from inside the animal world.

Using special state-of-the-art 4k resolution “Spy Creatures” the viewer is plunged into the very heart of the extraordinary lives of over 40 remarkable animals. They reveal previously unseen behaviour as animals gather, feed, fight and breed in among some of the greatest wildlife gatherings ever witnessed. This team of hyper-real Spy Creatures not only look like the animals they film, they behave like them too.

Accepted by the families, these robotic look-alikes can not only film from an intimate perspective they also interact with the animals and so gain revelatory insights into their worlds.

Each episode explores a different climatic region of the world and is packed with its own menagerie of animatronic Spy Creatures and extraordinary animal subjects. They discover how the animals have adapted their behaviour to not only cope, but often flourish, wherever they live. At times, their subjects occur in incredible numbers creating astonishing gatherings, found nowhere else on earth. From the hot and humid Tropics, to the freezing Poles, the seasonal North and the world’s most spectacular Islands, this new series of Spy in the Wild will transport the audience deeper into the animal world than ever thought possible.

Spy in the Wild – Series 2

Starting Wednesday 22nd January, 2020 at 9pm on BBC1

Programme 1

‘The Tropics”

Our Spy Creatures investigate the extraordinary wildlife that thrives in the tropics and the events and gatherings that happen across the year. In a magical encounter, Spy Gorilla meets the real thing and becomes part of their family, but will he meet with the approval of the great Silverback? For the first time, our Spy Creatures record how gorillas sing when they are enjoying their meals and in a comical moment, they experience the noisy after effects of their vegetarian diet. In other charming scenes, Spy Grub and Spy Fruit test their intelligence.

In Brazil, Spy Jaguar Cub explores a beautiful gathering of water birds, capybara and caiman and joins Spy Caiman to film a feeding frenzy as its wild counterparts go fishing. Ultimately, Spy Cub encounters a real jaguar and gets a privileged view of a rare romantic moment.

In Costa Rica, Spy Turtle and Spy Vulture gain an insider’s view of the spectacular turtle arribada as thousands jostle for a place on the beach to lay their eggs. To help cover the action Spy Turtle lays a clutch of Spy Eggs, while ravenous vultures lay in wait for a hearty meal.

In Zambia, Spy Hippo takes us into the heart of a hippo pod and is too close for comfort as it films a dramatic fight. Spy Dolphin and a host of other Spy Creatures, such as Spy Monkey, Spy Sloth and Spy Macaw, take us into the mysterious world of the Amazon’s flooded forest. Here, bizarre pink river dolphins hunt fish among the submerged treetops.

In Northern Australia, Spy Bat becomes immersed in a nursery of little red flying foxes and joins them on the wing as they risk getting snapped up by hungry fresh water crocodiles. Spy Orangutan returns to Borneo to investigate the extraordinary bulbous-nosed proboscis monkey and some curious orangutans. In incredible scenes, Spy Baby Elephant uncovers the secret world of pygmy forest elephants – the smallest in the world. In a thrilling finale, Spy Penguin and Spy Seal join Humboldt penguins as they bravely navigate thousands of angry sea lions as they try to return to their hungry chicks.

Programme 2

“The North”

The Spy Creatures travel to the temperate lands north of the tropics where life is governed by the rhythm of the seasons. From snow monkeys to beavers, monarch butterflies to bears and even a gathering of thousands of snakes, this is an episode as varied as the passing months.

In the spectacular snow-covered mountains of Japan, snow monkeys gather at steaming hot thermal pools. Spy Macaque joins them in this natural spa and even slips beneath the surface as the monkeys bathe and socialise. It’s a new and intimate view of the most northerly living monkey in the world. One young monkey plays with a Snowballcam and there’s drama too, as young males playfight and a young baby is lost and finally found by his mother.

Further west, in the cool mountains of Mexico, Spy Hummingbird takes us into the heart of what must be the world’s most beautiful natural gathering as billions of spectacular monarch butterflies overwinter. As the spring sun warms their wings, they take flight in a gorgeous display. As Spy Hummingbird is designed to cause no harm or disruption it is able to film a spectacular cascade of butterflies from the inside. It reveals imagery and behaviour, never seen before, as the butterflies begin their migration north to recolonise North America.

As spring comes to Manitoba in Canada, thousands of male garter snakes emerge from crevices underground to create a writhing carpet of serpents basking in the sun. Spy Snake takes us on journey inside the moving masses to discover an imposter in their ranks – a male pretending to be a female. By attracting the other males to him, his body warms up quicker than the rest so he’s ready and energised when the real females emerge.

As summer arrives in Bavaria, Germany, Spy Beaver gains unique access to the secretive and enchanting world of the beaver. We see how they build their lodge, gather food and how their young wrestle and play. Spy Beaver also meets a friend of the beavers, the muskrat – a mini-me that looks like a tiny version of the animal it lives alongside. This cheeky rodent benefits from the food the beavers cut down and even shares living quarters in their lodge.

In Baja California, Spy Pelican takes flight with a flock of brown pelicans as they go fishing. It discovers a pod of dolphins that have also been drawn to the shoals the nutrient-rich waters sustain. It soon discovers huge numbers of leaping Mobula rays as they gather to feed. Joining them is Spy Ray, which can go deeper into the shoal than any human diver would ever be tolerated. Working together, our Spy Creatures discover something never filmed before – “vortex feeding”, a technique that the rays use to concentrate the plankton they feed on. As a finale, as the mobulas take flight in an astonishing display, Spy Ray also takes to the air to join their celebration.

In Alaska dozens of grizzly bears and bald eagles gather to await one of nature’s most spectacular feasts – the arrival of thousands of sockeye salmon returning from the sea to spawn. As the spectacle unfurls, they are joined by Spy Bear, Spy Bald Eagle and even Spy Salmon. Each captures a different viewpoint of this incredible event. Spy Bear is first to join a family of grizzlies as they brave the icy water in search of a slippery feast. It not only has to survive among the mother bears and their feisty offspring it is also in the firing line when a deadly rogue male arrives. Spy Eagle provides a birds-eye view as thousands of fish run the gauntlet of the waiting bears as they race up the river to spawn. But nothing gets closer to the bears’ claws than Spy Salmon. Will it make it out in one piece?

As summer ends in Europe, thousands of white storks head south for the winter. Spy Stork joins the flocks as they converge on Istanbul to make the most of the thermals of rising hot air that form over the city. As thermals cannot form over water, they must gain enough height to embark on the dangerous sea crossing. It’s the most difficult part of their journey. If they make it, they will spend the winter enjoying the rich savannah grasslands of Africa.

Closer to home, as autumn arrives in England, Spy Squirrel and his fleet of Spy Nuts witness first-hand how grey squirrels find and bury thousands of nuts each year for the winter, remembering the position of up to 4000 of them. Spy Squirrel also becomes caught up in a fight between rival stags as they fight over females. Could this be its last assignment?

Programme 3

“The Islands”

The spy creatures explore the islands of the Southern Seas. In these isolated places, far from the mainland, some of the most unique animals on earth have evolved. On the Galapagos Islands, Spy Iguana joins marine iguanas as they bask on ancient lava, before cliff-diving into the sea below. Lavacam films battling females as they fight over the best nesting spots and Spy Iguana joins them as they comically spray snot, a technique that removes sea salt from their bodies. On Christmas Island, red crabs emerge from their burrows following the monsoon rains. Spy Crab walks with them as they unite as an army and march to the sea. On the way, they tackle barriers that in the past they would never have encountered: high metal fences and busy roads. When they finally arrive, they perform a victory dance that shakes their thousands of eggs into the ocean. Kangaroo Island has suffered from the recent fires that devastated Australia. This programme was made before the fires and shows the island and its inhabitants as they once were. Spy Koala films some of the most extraordinary koala behaviour ever recorded, capturing the action-packed breeding behaviour of these normally slow-moving animals. It even captures males fighting in the treetops – a surprisingly noisy and aggressive affair! Elsewhere on Kangaroo Island, Spy Kangaroo meets a unique type of kangaroo. They live in groups known as mobs and are overseen by a male known as a boomer. Spy Kangaroo witnesses a spectacular fight when a rival male sneakily tries to steal the boomer’s females. Our Spy is also a hit with the young joeys, even playing auntie as one tries to suckle. The mysterious and ancient island of Madagascar is home to many unique animals. Spy Chameleon, complete with moving camera eyes, meets some of the many species of chameleon that live there. There are also over 100 species of lemurs on the island and Spy Chameleon meets two of the most beautiful and charismatic – the sifaka and the ringtail. The ringtail starts the day in a moment of contemplation as it sits in the lotus position warming itself in the sun. As the group leave together, their ringed tails act like flags, making sure no one gets lost. The sifaka is the most stunning lemur of all and it has a unique way of moving – it pogos. An expert at leaping in the trees, it has adapted the technique to cross the ground. Off the tip of South Africa lies Seal island, home to 60,000 cape fur seals who come ashore to raise their pups. Spy Seal pup is right in their midst as they quarrel for space before leaping into the sea to play. He also joins them as they cavort in the surf. Overhead, Spy Gull is on patrol, his eye in the sky reveals that the greatest ocean predator, the great white shark, is not far away. Over 40 gather here this time of year to pursue the young inexperienced seals. As our spies discover, they have an ingenious tactic to avoid the jaws of death, but will Spy Seal survive? Rottnest Island, off the south west coast of Australia, is home to one of the most photogenic creatures in the world – meet the quokkas. These small furry marsupials are relatives of kangaroos and wallabies, Spy Quokka is here to investigate how these cute animals raise their young and discovers a tiny baby, only 3-months old, still in his pouch. But when it comes to sharing tea tree, one of their favourite foods, quokkas aren’t so friendly, Spy Quokka gets caught in the crossfire as some comedic battles ensue. The infamous Komodo Island is the setting for one of the most dramatic Spy scenes ever filmed. It’s the breeding season for the massive Komodo dragons and the 3-metre long males are on the hunt for females. One takes a liking to our Spy Dragon, raking its skin with razor-sharp claws in an attempt to release pheromones that show its sex and maturity. Our spy is quickly abandoned in favour of a real female. In scenes reminiscent of Jurassic Park, males fight over this female until one of the huge reptiles is pinned to the ground. All the while, Spy Pig has been filming from the sidelines. In dramatic scenes, the fighting dragons then turn their attention to him. In the Falkland Islands, male rockhopper penguins await the return of their partners from a fishing trip at sea. An array of Spy Penguins, in the sea and on the cliff, join the females as they race against time to get back to their hungry chicks. These plucky birds battle massive waves just to get ashore, but they then have to scale a vertical 100-metre cliff face. In dramatic and sometimes comical scenes, they hop, scramble and climb, using just beaks and claws, to make it to the top. The final sequence returns to the incredible landscape of the Galapagos Islands, in search of a secret gathering of the incredible giant tortoises. In extraordinary scenes, Spy Tortoise and Bouldercam discover why the tortoises gather in these mountain spas and Spy Tortoise has a close encounter with an over-amorous 400kg male tortoise.

Programme 4

“The Poles”

The Spy Creatures travel to the lands of ice and snow beyond the Arctic and Antarctic circles. From penguin chicks to elephant seals, wolf cubs to polar bears, this episode showcases the hardiest and most charismatic animals in the polar world. In the Southern Ocean, the island of SouthGeorgia is home to 200,000 king penguins. Spy Chick makes friends among a city of chicks and gains an intimate view of life from inside thecolony. Spy Chick comes under attack from a scavenging sheathbill then suffers a malfunction that leaves it at the mercy of a giant petrel. Whenthe petrel attacks a real chick, it’s saved by its parents. As winter takes hold, food supplies run out forcing the parents on an epic 1000 mile fishingtrip, leaving the chicks to fend for themselves. At the other side of the world, it’s spring in the Arctic and the frozen sea has melted into drifting ice. Spy Walrus discovers a walrus family hauledout on an ice floe and meets a sleeping male, snoring loudly in the sea. The family abandon the melting ice and investigate Spy Walrus then, fromthe air, Spy Gyrfalcon follows the family as they head to land. Spy Gyrfalcon tracks the retreating ice further north to find a polar bear hunting onthin ice. To get closer, Spy Polar Bear swims between ice floes and dives underwater until it’s nose to nose with the bear. It gains breathtakingviews as the bear fails to hunt a seal as the ice breaks beneath its feet. But all is not lost, the bear picks up a scent of a whale carcass – a feast forevery polar bear in the neighbourhood. Further South, on Norway’s Hornoya island, 1000s of male puffins gather in the snow as they search for their life-long partners. Spy Puffin joinsthem as they head-bob in an attempt to recognise who’s who and find their long-lost loves. But all is not sweetness and light, young and singlemales will fight to break up established pairs and prove they’re a better catch. Spy Puffin is caught in the crossfire as they wrestle on the snowyslopes. As spring arrives in South Georgia the chicks are starving, having waited 4 months for their parents to return. Spy King Penguin greets the parentswhen they finally arrive, but a barrier of 6000 elephant seals blocks their path. As the giants sleep, the penguins have to tip toe past, trying not towake them. All is well until a penguin trips on kelp, waking the sleeping seals. In the turmoil, somehow the penguins make it through. Their nextchallenge is finding their own chick among the thousands of identikit versions. Miraculously, the chicks can recognise their parent’s call. Spy Chickjoins the celebrations as the chicks are reunited. As summer comes to the islands of Svalbard, Spy Fox waits below the cliffs of the largestgathering of Arctic seabirds. It’s joined by arctic fox cubs as they leave the den in anticipation of one of nature’s most spectacular events. Guillemot chicks must leave their nests high on the precipitous cliffs and somehow make it to the sea beyond. Their father is with them all the wayas they make their first flight. The foxes are on the lookout for any that fall short. Spy Snowy Owl, Bouldercam and an array of hidden camerascatch the astonishing moment as a chick tries to reach the sea with a young fox in hot pursuit. Against the odds, the plucky chick fights back, outfoxing the foxes in a game of hide-and-seek, until it is reunited with its parents in the safety of the sea. While it’s summer in the Arctic, Antarctica faces the lowest temperatures on earth. The tobogganing version of Penguincam faces the full brunt ofwinter storms to discover how emperor penguins survive. A lost chick is saved by its parent but to stay alive the colony work together to form ahuddle. For the first time, timelapse cameras reveal in astonishing detail, how they share warmth and all get a turn in the huddle’s cosy centre. Their choreographed shuffle ensures no one is left out in the cold. As Antarctica freezes, it’s midsummer in Ellesmere Island just 500 miles fromthe North Pole. Spy Pup wins the trust of arctic wolf cubs as they meet their whole family. The pups head off on their first hunt watched from aboveby Spy Snowy Owl. Stunning footage shows the hunt as never seen before as the family work together to bring down a huge musk ox, while thepups watch and learn. When the pack returns to the den, the cubs greet Spy Pup with spoils from the hunt. Before the Spy Creatures’ missionends, they return to South Georgia. It’s the elephant seals’ mating season and Spy Penguin is in the middle of a battlefield. As a beachmaster defends his territory from rival males, Spy Penguin is flattened by one of the 4-ton giants. Spy Elephant Seal takes over filming duties. It’s thelargest Spy yet and is the first part-inflatable version. As the fights continue, it gains an unprecedented close up view of the fighting bulls. Whenthe rival loses he shifts his focus to Spy Elephant Seal. Outmatched, Spy Elephant Seal meets a deflated end