TV study of the urban fox is bigger than Big Brother eviction night
A new TV programme tracking urban foxes has been a surprise hit
Its stars already have a Facebook fan club and the web audience has beaten Big Brother. A Channel 4 live study of urban foxes has gripped viewers and helped challenge a perception that the creatures are little more than noisy, scavenging pests.
With up to 40,000 of the animals now prowling our cities, Foxes Live: Wild in the City aims to investigate how Britain’s most controversial animal survives in the urban environment and asks if humans, and our pets, can safely co-exist alongside them.
The producers use CCTV cameras, satellite GPS tags and “den cams” to track the foxes from mating sessions in garden sheds to industrial estates.
Viewers are asked to log fox “sightings” on the show’s website channel4.com/foxes to create the UK’s first fox “census”, during the two-week experiment.
The audience enthusiasm has surprised Channel 4. During the first live broadcast on Monday,more than 1,000 page views per second were recorded, equivalent to an eviction on Big Brother during the series’ peak.
The web views spiked when presenter Anita Rani released Chico back into the environment in Manchester. The fox was cornered by a dog after entering a chicken coop and killing four birds. The “rehabilitated” fox was treated for mange and fixed with a GPS tracking collar.
The first programme was watched by 1.8 million viewers. Nightly updates follow the Channel 4 News, incorporating the latest footage sent from members of the public. The fox sightings interactive map has already had 7,000 entries logged.
Like his fellow stars, Diesel and Dora, Chico has his own webpage which includes admiring comments from Facebook supporters, who follow his progress, pinpointed hourly via a Google aerial view on the Foxes Live map.
There were however concerns over one of the Foxes Live stars, Loxy, who was found suffering from fever and with a dead cub in her birth canal.
The Essex vixen, last sighted in Canonbury, vanished from the map but the producers assured viewers that this was because she had disappeared down a hole into a satellite tracking “black spot”. Loxy was alive and well, they confirmed.
Channel 4 will next week run three hour-long episodes of the series. The project was timed for early May because this is the time of year vixens give birth and cubs begin to venture out of dens.
The RSPCA has backed the series, which features experts including Dr Dawn Scott, head of biology and biomedical sciences division at the University of Brighton.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark finale review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
The Visit: Watch terrifying trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film
Apprentice series 11: Claude Littner to replace Nick Hewer as Lord Sugar's aide
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3 - review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton, really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds