05 January 2021 22:38

Sarah Kendall Robot Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Gordon Buchanan MBE presents the moving and exhilarating two-part documentary Cheetah Family & Me on BBC Two. Gordon, 58, follows the plight of two cheetah mothers, Savannah and Chili as they travel across South Africa in search of food for their cubs. Why is Gordon Buchanan Cheetah Family & Me famous? Gordon is a multi-award-winning wildlife documentary filmmaker and presenter. Gordon with a wolf on Snow Wolf Family and Me (Credit: BBC) He started out at as a wildlife photographer, but moved into camerawork and then presenting in the mid 1990's. His breakthrough work came when he helped film the hit wildlife series Big Cat Diary and he went on to film for SpringWatch.

In 2010, he hosted the documentary series The Bear Family & Me. In which he follows a family of wild black bears for over a year in their natural habitat of Minnesota, America. Gordon with a reindeer on his doc Reindeer Family and Me (Credit: BBC) In 2020, Gordon received an MBE from The Queen for his services to conservation and wildlife documentary making. Is Gordon Buchanan married? Gordon is married to Wendy Buchanan. Gordon feeding an abandoned baby bear in his 2010 documentary The Bear Family and Me (Credit: BBC) What other shows has Gordon presented?

Gordon has an extensive documentary credits list. He has presented several '& Me' documentary series. Join him in South Africa as he gets close to cheetahs in the Kalahari, experiencing first-hand the very real dangers that these big cats face in #CheetahFamilyAndMe. Ep1 will be on @BBCTwo on Tuesday 5th Jan at 9pm. In addition to The Bear Family & Me and his upcoming Cheetah Family series – he has presented many 'Family & Me' docs. When is Cheetah Family & Me on? Cheetah Family & Me begins on Tuesday January 5 at 9pm on BBC Two. Sitting among Savannah the cheetah mum and her two cubs, Gordon Buchanan has somehow become one of the family. The cameraman was able to earn their trust by following the cheetahs on foot to learn about the challenges they face. Initially she was aware of me and then she'd complete ignore me and by the end she didn't mind having this bloke following her around. Gordon is no stranger to embedding himself within animal families and has done so with polar bears, wolves and other big cats. (Image: BBC/Hello Halo TV/Gordon Buchanan) By the end of the series, the cheetahs were completely relaxed." They were so relaxed that one of the playful cubs, Morwa, tried to run off with Gordon's jacket and nearly broke his tripod. "I wasn't expecting it, up until that point they had ignored me so that's when I realised with their comfort level around me they were onto a new stage. The 48-year-old would be just metres away from the cats, the world's fastest land animal, and never once felt threatened. He says: "I was slightly nervous, even when you've got two large cubs, I was quite aware that I was surrounded by aware cheetahs and I thought, 'Hang on, what types of animals can they take down?' They can actually take down animals much bigger than me. "They are a large animal but at no point did I feel threatened by them. You do have to be mindful they are a wild animal and if you don't respect them and their space that's when you could get into trouble." Savannah largely ignored him, but her cubs Seba and Morwa were more interested. Dad Gordon was following the cats in South Africa's stunning Tswalu Kalahari Reserve for his new two-part documentary, Cheetah Family & Me. It's a feat he describes as "a triumph" as it was the only BBC natural history programme filmed in 2020 that made it on schedule due to coronavirus disruptions. "The plan was to do three or four trips across the year but we started in February, it was amazing we managed to come away with two programmes. Gordon gained special permission to return to the cheetahs in October to film the second part of the documentary. A cameraman had to stand in to film a second cheetah family, led by mum Chilli and her five adorable newborn kittens who also feature. Both cheetah mums deal with the impact of climate change on the land, habitat loss and try their very best to keep their cubs alive. They may be expert predators when it comes to hunting, reaching speeds of 70mph, but it's not an easy life for a cheetah mum. "They're an animal icon, everyone knows what they look like but people don't quite realise in today's world the challenges they face," Gordon says. Cheetahs were once found all over Africa even up in the north but they have been marginalised and driven into small, protected areas. We really do need to make a decision on whether we want a future with these animals living in the wild. It's been on this trend for 100 years for lots of Africa's animals, dwindling away to the point were they will disappear. In South Africa the population is growing thanks to conservation programmes and people like Richard Satekge, a cheetah expert who features in the programme. If other countries can protect cheetahs like Richard and his team, the cats' futures could be looking much brighter. "A few passionate people can really turn the fortunes round," Gordon says. "I want to show people what the challenges are like for a cheetah mum and how difficult is for the world's perfect predator."