ANIMAL Park presenters Kate Humble and Ben Fogle are returning to Longleat to film a major new 15-part series of the programme.

The pair will be reunited with Jean Johansson following the success of last year’s ‘Animal Park: Summer Special’ which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Longleat Safari Park.

The first five 45-minute episodes of the new series are set to fill the 9.15am slot over the forthcoming Easter holiday on BBC1, with the remaining 10 episodes due for broadcast over the summer.

Longleat’s CEO, Bob Montgomery, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Kate, Ben, Jean and the entire team back to Longleat.

“The public response to the 50th anniversary special was overwhelming and showed there is a real affection for the animals and staff who live and work here and their extraordinary stories,” he added.

Last year’s week-long Summer Special won its timeslot each day with a final consolidated audience of 1.65 million viewers and a 28.2 per cent market share.

The new series will feature everything from the birth of the first cheetah cubs at Longleat and a giant swingball for the lions to osteopathy for Anne the elephant and the devastating effects of avian malaria on a colony of penguins.

Kate Humble said: “I am extremely excited that we get to return to Animal Park and I can’t wait to meet some old and new friends.”

Co-presenter Ben Fogle said he was looking forward to creating another ‘brilliant season’.

“It is such an honour to continue making this fantastic show, and it is brilliant that after the roaring success of last year’s show we can spend more time at Longleat.”

The new series is being produced by Remarkable Television, which is part of Endemol Shine UK.

BBC Commissioning Editor, Lindsay Bradbury said: “Animal Park has hit a real nerve with the core daytime audience – and also with a previously untapped audience – children on school holiday.

“The series is a real treat in the schedule and an opportunity for viewers of all ages to catch up on the heart-warming stories of the animals and their keepers.”