Hampstead’s Bill Oddie helps gorillas’ plight with online short film series

A still from one of the comedy shorts starring Bill Oddie to raise awareness of the plight of the go

A still from one of the comedy shorts starring Bill Oddie to raise awareness of the plight of the gorilla - Credit: Archant

Wildlife presenter Bill Oddie is certainly no stranger to getting up, close and personal with animals – but perhaps never quite like this.

A still from one of the comedy shorts starring Bill Oddie to raise awareness of the plight of the go

A still from one of the comedy shorts starring Bill Oddie to raise awareness of the plight of the gorilla - Credit: Archant

The Ham&High was given a sneak preview of a newly-launched online series of comedy sketches, which sees The Goodies star act alongside an animatronic gorilla called Toby.

It follows the misguided attempts of Mr Oddie, as primatologist “Hilary”, as he tries to civilise his newly-adopted wild Verungan gorilla by playing him at cards and giving him a “saucy” reading of literary classic Moby Dick.

It’s all to raise awareness of the fight to save gorillas from extinction by Primrose Hill charity the Gorilla Organisation and production company Earl Productions.

Explaining why the charity chose to appeal for donations through comedy, sketch writer Tobias Hussey said: “The shock tactic is one approach but the British audience are quite sceptical so we wanted to take a different approach. The demographic is young, it’s kids who appeal to their parents to adopt an animal. So not using a shock tactic makes it easier to appeal to that demographic.”


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The first sketch in the series, called Run, was unveiled in the summer to urge people to take part in the Great Gorilla Run – an annual charity race which was held last month. But the organisation has now launched the remaining three short films online onto a dedicated website. One sees Hilary try – and fail – to teach Toby chess.

Another sees the ape get rather more excited at animal mating rituals in a documentary he is watching on TV than the tale of Moby Dick which Hilary is trying to read to him.

Watch the films online.

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