Lightning bolt kills TV giraffe
Published 09/11/2010 | 11:15
Disaster has struck on the set of TV drama Wild At Heart - with a lightning bolt killing a seven-year-old giraffe.
Cast and crew are said to be heartbroken following the sudden death of "playful and charming" Hamley, who has been an on-screen favourite for five years.
A thunderstorm killed Hamley on Monday on the Glen Afric reserve in South Africa, where the drama, which stars Stephen Tompkinson and Dawn Steele as newlyweds Danny and Alice Trevanion, is filmed.
The cast did not witness the tragedy, as they were away from the reserve filming a scene for the sixth series of the ITV drama.
Producer Nick Goding said: "We are all desperately upset about the passing of Hamley, who has been part of the Wild At Heart family for five years.
"It was a natural disaster, but nevertheless heartbreaking for everyone who has been involved with him - he was a real character.
"Our wildlife is very much at the heart of the series - Hamley was a gentle, playful and charming animal. He will be greatly missed by everybody."
Hamley had already filmed scenes, including frightening an environmental agency visitor up a tree, for the next series.
A spokeswoman for the drama said of the scene: "You can't teach wild animals how to act. But Hamley walked up to the tree afterwards where the actor was and started to lick his face.
"That will stay in (the series). That was just one of his many extraordinary facets, that as a wild animal he had this natural aptitude to do what you wished for."