The documentary series Meerkat Manor was the first of its kind, following a meerkat colony in South Africa. The series was primarily focused on a meerkat family dubbed "the Whiskers." The series was created by Caroline Hawkins, executive producer and series editor at Oxford Scientific Films, and commissioned for Animal Planet International. The show aired in the U.S., U.K., and Australia to critical acclaim and ran from 2005 to 2008.
Over a decade later, the BBC has announced a revival of the series titled Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty. Thirteen half-hour episodes will air in summer 2021 in the United States and the United Kingdom. Who will narrate this iconic meerkat return to television? Here's everything we know about the show so far.
Who is the narrator for the new 'Meerkat Manor?' He's narrated the show before.
In the original run of Meerkat Manor, the narrator was changed depending on the country in which the show aired. In the BBC version, actor Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean, Love, Actually, Emma) narrated the epic. In America, the show was narrated by Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), then Stockard Channing (The West Wing), and in Australia, by radio personality Mike Goldman.
In February 2021, BBC America announced that Bill Nighy is reprising his role as narrator for the revival series Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, to premiere in summer 2021. According to the announcement, this will be the first time Bill has narrated the series for American audiences.
What is the plot of 'Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty'?
The original Meerkat Manor followed several groups of meerkats, but the group that was followed most closely was dubbed "the Whiskers family." The family was led by a matriarch named Flower, who was known for her unusual success as a dominant female of the group. Flower led the group for five years before her daughter Rocket Dog took over.
Animals in other groups were highlighted occasionally, given tongue-in-cheek monikers to separate them from the main group. For example, another meerkat group named "the Lazuli" were cheekily described as "the neighbors from hell." The filmmakers had a non-interference policy regarding the meerkats and didn't intercede when animals were bitten by snakes or fighting amongst one another.
Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, according to BBC America, "continues the compelling saga of the heartstring-tugging, dramatic tale of survival revolving around three families of meerkats who are descendants of the legendary meerkat matriarch, Flower. Neighbors and rivals who share a bloodline are forced to compete for food and resources in an environment that is undergoing a great deal of change: the Kalahari Desert in South Africa."
The show will premiere half-hour episodes beginning June 5, 2021, on BBC America. Episodes will also be available for streaming on Amazon Prime, AMC Plus, BBC America's website the day after, and Discovery Plus. Who knows what will test the survival of the meerkats in the Kalahari Desert?
Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. EST on BBC America.