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Visitors can normally spot rabbits, sheep and countless pheasants at Arley but the animals were a little more exotic when Our Zoo filmed several scenes on the estate.

A lion, camel and monkey were among the animals that made Arley their home during the filming of BBC’s hit programme.

“Arley has never seen anything like it,” said General Manager Steve Hamilton.

“It was quite extraordinary to have these animals in the hall and on the estate.”

Members of Our Zoo’s stellar cast – including Anne Reed and Lee Ingleby – were also seen at Arley but it was the animals that stole the show.

Among them was a camel that was filmed inside the country house and will appear in later episodes. Its carers built a giant litter tray in the hall in case it ‘needed to go’ at any point during filming.

The lions were filmed behind the Stockley Farm car park and circus scenes that appeared in the first episode were also recorded at Arley.

Our Zoo is based on the inspiring real story of the eccentric Mottershead family who established Chester Zoo in the 1930s.

Lee Ingleby (Inspector George Gently) plays George Mottershead, an ex-serviceman with a dream to build the first British zoo without bars with Liz White (Life on Mars) playing his loyal wife Lizzie Mottershead, mother to Mew and June.

BAFTA-nominated actress Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) takes the role of Lucy Mottershead, whose world is turned upside down when her husband, Albert (Peter Wight, The Paradise), sells their shop to help fund George’s plans for the zoo and both are forced to live with their son and family in the country.

The latest filming took place after Disney shot a four-part children’s feature called Evermoor at Arley earlier this year.

“Not only is it great for Arley to be starring in these high-profile shows it is also fantastic for Cheshire,” said Steve.

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