In 2008, a clip posted on YouTube featuring an emotional reunion between a young lion and his owners became an internet sensation. Overnight people wanted to know more about what lay behind this clip. The two men in question, Anthony 'Ace' Bourke and John Rendall, have published an updated bestselling version of their account of how they came to buy Christian the lion from a London department store in the late 60s. They explain how they lived with the lion whilst working in a furniture shop down the King's Road in what was then the tail end of the swinging 60s and how they eventually came to introduce their lion into the wild under the watchful eye of lion expert, George Adamson. For the first time this TV Special, filmed in 2009, pulls together this amazing story using up to date interviews with many of those involved in this unique story. It includes the original footage of Christian filmed in both London and Kenya, the reunion between the three and exclusive new footage of a second reunion which was to be the last time the two men would see Christian.
- A Lion Called Christian review by BN
Never knew anything about this. Remarkable 45min story about two Australians enjoying swinging London in the 60s who buy a lion cub on a whim from Harrods - which extraordinarily sold exotic animals at the time. Christian the lion bonds with the pair, behaves and is treated like a pussycat but as it steadily grows they realise that no matter how benign its character it's still a wild animal that will ultimately get too large for them to handle and will need a larger exercise area than the kindly leant Moravian church yard they use. Via an entirely chance meeting with Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna famous after the Born Free film, Christian starts on the road to being patriated to the wild on George Adamson's reserve in Kenya. The boys visit on a trip one year later and there's a tentative then exuberant reunion. Christian had joined a pride with a larger male but due to misadventure he soon becomes the alpha male and there is the inference right at the end that he fathers cubs but curiously no further information is revealed of his fate or offspring after that, which struck me as odd.
Luckily there is plenty of home movie type footage of Christian in the 70s, but it wasn't until recently with the work of an American university student that the story was put together into this documentary type film and a book.
Definitely worth a watch. Quite sweet.
Lots of footage of Travers, McKenna and Adamson.
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