Britain’s Tiger Kings: On the Trail – Ross Kemp exposes a wild fashion

If Netflix’s Tiger King was an exercise in craziness, the British version is a little more mundane. “It does look slightly decadent – you’re in a hot tub looking at your lions,” said Ross Kemp to Reece Oliver, a businessman and showjumper who owns two majestic beasts named Rocky and Rora. But the surroundings were not exotic. Oliver keeps his lions in his back garden next to the M1, just up the road from Trowell services.

Britain’s Tiger Kings – On the Trail with Ross Kemp (ITV) informed us that there are nearly 4,000 dangerous wild animals in the country. Kemp went to meet some owners.

The grandly titled Heythrop Zoological Gardens in Chipping Norton is owned by Jim Clubb, a former circus trainer who now supplies animals for adverts and TV shows. Andrew Riddel is a Lincolnshire scrap metal merchant (licence plate on the Bentley: SCR 8P) who keeps 200 animals including leopards, brown bears and four lions; he had a tiger but it died.

And then there was Oliver, whose insistence on a backyard menagerie – he also had a puma – had not endeared him to the neighbours. It was pretty astounding to learn just how few hurdles there are to clear before you can keep these animals as pets. Well, not quite pets – as all the owners acknowledged, these were animals that could kill you.

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