'The Human Bear': The remarkable story of Hercules the famous wrestling grizzly

New documentary traces the unique relationship that Hercules and his owners forged during their 25 years together

It's a simple story of man, wife, Scottish rural life and a 9ft half-ton grizzly bear who once caddied for Bob Hope.

Now, the remarkable story of Andy and Maggie Robin and their grizzly bear Hercules is set to be revealed in a new documentary on Channel 5.

'Hercules the Human Bear', which is slated for screening in April, traces the unique relationship that Andy, Maggie and Hercules forged during their 25 years together.

Purchased from a Scottish zoo for £50 in 1976, Hercules initially fulfilled the role of a unique sparring partner for wrestling World Champion Andy.

Their performances on the UK circuit in the late 1970s and early 1980s were watched by audiences of 15 million viewers on ITV's World of Sport programme.

This early success catapulted the bear and its owner to international stardom, initially in adverts for products such as Kleenex and Hofmeister Beer, and then cameo appearances in James Bond’s Octopussy and a range of small film roles, children's documentaries and chat shows.

His fame was further accelerated when he went missing on Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides in August 1980 during the filming of an advert.

The story of his escape and his 24 days on the lam became a national and international news story. He was eventually spotted by a crofter, shot with a tranquilliser dart, netted and flown by helicopter back home.

In his long career he also once caddied for comedian Bob Hope at the Scottish golf course Gleneagles, received a telegram from Ronald Reagan, appeared on the front cover of Time magazine and was named "Personality of the Year" by the Scottish Tourist Board.

However, sadly his career was cut short after he fell over and slipped a disc in his back during the filming of a television advert in 1996.

The new Channel Five documentary unveils extraordinary archive film footage showing Hercules adapting to his new surroundings at the Sheriffmuir Inn and learning to wrestle with Andy, without killing him in the process.

Maggie Robin said: "For 25 years I lived with a bear. That teddy bear we all had as a child became my everyday reality.  As  farmers daughter and show jumper I never imagined that I would one day marry a champion wrestler Andy Robin and be mother to my very own real live bear."

"His name was Hercules...he was handsome and gentle and made me laugh. He never let me down, not once.  With him I shared a charmed life full of adventure love and laughter that to still to this day makes me smile."

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones