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Series / Big Cat Diaries

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A BBC documentary done in the style of a soap opera, focusing on the lives of lions, cheetahs and leopards in Kenya's Masai Mara. It comprises eight seasons overall, having gone through several incarnations as Big Cat Diaries, Big Cat Week and Big Cat Live. They also produced three separate movies called 'Family Histories', focusing on individual characters appearing on the show. Filming is timed to coincide with the wildebeest migration into the Mara.


At the start of each season, the producers select several cats, including at least one lion, leopard and cheetah group, and follow their adventures. On occasion they also discuss animals of other species who happen to be passing through, such as showing the crocodiles' attempts at hunting the migrating herds while they cross the Mara River, filming the servals they occasionally spot in the grasslands, or giving a look at the softer side of the hyenas that repeatedly tangle with the big cats.

Tropes in this show:
  • Anyone Can Die: The producers have no control over the fate of their big cat stars, and life in the Masai Mara can be harsh, especially for the small and cute cubs. Toto, a young cheetah cub, is one of the most heartwrenching examples.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This has happened for many of the other residents of the Masai Mara: crocodiles, servals, hyenas, vultures, elephants, jackals, etc.
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  • Basement-Dweller: Chui is the leopard equivalent in season 7, still dependent on his mother Bella about a year after they expected him to become independent.
  • Big Brother Worship: Lion cub Sala with his cousin Cheza in season 7. Both lone survivors of their litters, two month old Sala's sole playmate is his five month old cousin Cheza, and he quite literally follows Cheza pretty much everywhere.
  • Panthera Awesome: Obviously.


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