Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

New Stars of Reality TV

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

New Stars of Reality TV

Article excerpt

WHEN experienced documentary-maker Sally Ingleton was on the hunt for a new project, she was astounded to discover nobody had filmed the star attractions at her family's favourite holiday destination.

About half a million tourists visit Phillip Island off the coast of Victoria every year to watch the nightly penguin parade.

Every sunset, more than a thousand wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and march across the beach to their sand dune burrows.

Ingleton had regularly visited Phillip Island ever since she was a young girl on family holidays and already knew how special and entertaining the Little Penguin breed was.

"It's always been part of my childhood experience. We used to go and sit on the sand with the picnic rug and the torch and watch the Little Penguins come up the beach and disappear over the sand dunes," Ingleton, the series producer, says.

"It was always a really nostalgic part of my own childhood and even as an adult I'd often rent houses down there.

"When it came to coming up for an idea for a natural history project or series, I was amazed that nobody has ever done it before given how popular it is."

Ingleton was captivated, and eager to film the little birds, but with a history of more anthropological studies, she wanted to make her wildlife show different from the others.

She took as her inspiration the hugely popular British series Meerkat Manor, which blended traditional animal documentary-style footage with dramatic narration, humanising a family of wild meerkats they named Whiskers in the Kalahari Desert.

In Penguin Island, which premieres on ABC1 next week, the documentary makers, which also include director Simon Target and wildlife cinematographer David Parer, have given the animals names and human characteristics.

"Sometimes some of the blue chip natural history programs, even (David Attenborough's) Life, which is a really wonderful series and absolutely incredible photography, there's something about it that isn't that fresh," Ingleton says.

"I think there's room for all different styles and this is, I suppose it's a more entertaining approach to telling a natural history story. …

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