In 2008, Youtube introduced an extraordinary film clip that has since touched the hearts of millions worldwide. The grainy footage captured the amazing and highly moving reunion of two young men and their beloved 227kg pet lion, Christian, one year after they left him in Africa to be introduced to his rightful home in the wilderness of Kenya. Now, including new interviews to complement the existing archive film that has captured the public imagination, Animal Planet presents the untold story of A LION CALLED CHRISTIAN premiering Sunday, December 6 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT.
From impulsive buy, to defender of his own pride – discover how a lion from the heart of hip London society at the height of the “swinging sixties” was successfully rehabilitated and reintroduced to the wild in Africa. With over 50 million hits on Youtube, experience the phenomenon and stirring reunion of John Randall, Christian the lion, and Ace Berg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjWtRYaxmWM.
In 1969, university friends, John Randall and Ace Berg, travelled from Australia to London, UK, to make their mark. While getting acquainted with their new city, the two friends stopped by the world-renowned Harrods department store, discovering a boisterous young lion cub for sale in the store window. Convinced they could give him a better home – at least for the time – the two purchased Christian the lion (for about $5,300 today) and took him to their flat above the trendy Sophistocat furniture shop on King’s Road.
Travelling by Bentley, eating in fine London restaurants and spending his days lounging in the furniture shop run by his new owners, the charismatic and intelligent lion cub became a local celebrity over the next five months. Although Christian was developing a bond of genuine friendship and trust with Randall and Berg, a major issue was looming; Christian was growing too big to be kept as a pet and the massive challenge of reintroducing a fully domesticated adult lion into the African wilderness was about to begin.
Set against the era of free love, rock ’n’ roll and an explosion of youth culture, A LION CALLED CHRISTIAN tells the dramatic story of how an impulsive shopping trip got two King’s Road hippies inadvertently swept into an international crisis.
Revealing new interviews from Randall and Berg as they recall their highly emotional reunion with Christian – and a second rarely-seen final reunion with the fully maned three-year-old lion – A LION CALLED CHRISTIAN follows Christian’s journey from London lion cub, through rehabilitation and finally as the leader of his own Kenyan pride.