Meerkat Manor is a British wildlife docu-reality television series created by Caroline Hawkins and produced by Oxford Scientific Films for Animal Planet which follows the everyday life of a meerkat family called the Whiskers, living in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa.
The series made its international debut in South Africa on DStv's Animal Planet channel on Monday 5 September 2008, at 18h30. It premiered in the UK on Animal Planet International a week later, on 12 September, 2005.
There are 53 half-hour episodes in four seasons to date. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
The main protagonists are 12 inches high, live underground in burrows and survive on a diet of worms, insects and lizards. This ground-breaking series follows a group of meerkats living in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa.
From family squabbles to love affairs, this is an intimate portrait of these curious and entertaining creatures as never seen before.
Viewers get to know each individual character as intimately as any human soap star but here the relationships, births, deaths and conflicts are for real.
In cooperation with Cambridge University, the story of the Whiskers mob is told from the perspective of the meerkats themselves. With no humans featured, film crews were housed in specially-built sheds and, for the first time, successfully filmed inside a meerkat burrow using fibre optic cameras.
The Whiskers, all given names as part of the study, have their daily activities tracked and filmed by scientists, showing everything from family squabbles to love affairs.
The Whiskers are led by dominant female Flower and her mate, Zaphod.
Each episode in the series presents a rare glimpse into the relationships and familial structure of the central characters.
Although the narrative is presented in a style similar to a soap opera, it is documentary, featuring actual events in the lives of the meerkats.
The show is narrated by Bill Nighy in the UK and Canada, Mike Goldman in Australia, and Sean Astin (Seasons 1-3) and Stockard Channing (4-) in the USA.
Season 1 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 5 September 2005 | Finale: 28 November 2005 | Mondays, 18h30
Season 2 (14 episodes)
Premiere: 16 October 2006 | Finale: 27 November 2006 | Mondays, 19h20 (double bill)
Season 3 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 10 September 2007 | Finale: 26 September 2007 | Weekdays, 19h00
Season 4 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 8 March 2009 | Finale: 19 April 2009 | Mondays, 19h00 (double bill)