Blue Zoo teaches, challenges Aussie and Irish teens

Blue Zoo, a new TV adventure documentary series, will put eight teenagers- four Aussies and four from Ireland- through a training course at an Australian marine rescue park.

The series of 13 half-hour episodes is the first from Sally Browning and Dean Cropp’s Air Pig Productions, co-produced with David Atkins Enterprises.

The show was commissioned by ABC3 Australia and RTÉ Young Peoples, Ireland. Browning told IF that she and Cropp got the idea while working in the fields of marine and animal conservation and protecting the environment.

The eight rookies- casting is underway- will spend seven weeks at a NSW marine wildlife park with dolphins, seals and turtles who have been rescued and rehabilitated or born into human care at the park.

Aged 14-16, they will hone their communication, science, creative and team-building skills under the supervision and guidance of marine experts.

Browning and Cropp developed the show with the ABC with the financial support of Screen NSW. The ABC brought RTÉ Young Peoples aboard in June.

The series will be directed by Browning and one other director, yet to be confirmed, with Cropp as director of photography. The series producer is Nick Hopkin.

Shooting starts in October. Applications can be lodged at Flame Distribution will sell the project internationally and will show early footage to potential buyers at the MIPCOM market in Cannes in October.

Air Pig Productions is a new sister company to Browning and Cropp’s Emerald Films, which has produced factual programs and documentaries including The Diplomat, The Christmas Cake, Secret Safari, Stranger in the Family and Taking Care of Elvis and Raskols since 1992.

The name Air Pig springs from the principals’ background as divers. As Sally explains, the expression means people who use too much air when they’re underwater and get over-excited.