15-0421 The Secret Life of Your House
Produced by The Garden Productions
Category as a finalist: Hosted/Presenter-led
Presenter: Dr. George McGavin
A derelict house has been turned into a pest’s paradise as leading Entomologist George McGavin invites thousands of creepy insects and crawly animals in as house guests so that we can marvel at the fascinating critters that exist under our unsuspecting noses. The house is rigged to monitor the animal’s behaviour and show their daily battle for survival. Using high tech natural history filming techniques and macro photography to delve into unseen territory; we watch mice breed inside sofas, beetles devour carpets, weevils and cockroaches raid the larder and bed bugs disturb George’s sleep as they feast on his blood, George shows us that there’s no need to go the Plains of Africa to see fascinating wildlife – it exists in our homes... whether we like it or not.
We thought it would be fun to have a look at the animals that we usually call 'pests' that live in our homes and that people usually try to get rid of. We wanted to combine natural history filming techniques with documentary to try and engage the viewers. We pitched the idea to ITV and once they commissioned it we sought out a director, Tony Lee, who had both natural history and documentary experience.
'Infesting' a real house with animals in the middle of winter was challenging - we had to heat the house and seal it to create optimum conditions for them. But the biggest challenge was finding a house we could 'infest' - eventually we found a house used as a film location on a country estate in rural England. The owners liked the idea and let us in! The mice proved to be the most entertaining residents - making a home inside the sofa.