Former UCS schoolboy stars as gorilla keeper in new ITV show The Zoo

Dan Simmonds with one of the gorillas at London Zoo.

Dan Simmonds with one of the gorillas at London Zoo. - Credit: Archant

A former Hampstead schoolboy has become one of the stars of a new television series exploring life at London Zoo.

Dan Simmonds, a former pupil at University College School, in Frognal, starred in the first episode of ITV series The Zoo last night, appearing in his role as gorilla keeper at the Regent’s Park zoo.

The 40-year-old, orginally from Golders Green, has worked as a zookeeper since 2005 after leaving a high-flying job as an oil trader in the City.

In the first episode, the cameras followed Dan as he looked after the zoo’s troop of Western Lowland gorillas, trained a large silverback gorilla, named Kumbuka, and refurbished the zoo’s Gorilla Kingdom.

Dan, who now lives in Shoreditch, said: “Being a zookeeper is my dream job and after 10 years the novelty still hasn’t worn off! I love working with the gorillas and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

“It’s a real privilege to work for one of the best known zoos in the world and also be a part of our amazing conservation work.”

The Zoo, which also documents life at Whipsnade Zoo, continues on Sunday and concludes on August 24.