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ITV – Panda Babies (2015) 720p

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 Panda Babies
Adorable. That’s the only word for the cute black-and-white bundles of fur in this documentary. Lucky old Steve Leonard is in a Chinese panda nursery where he gets to cuddle the little ones as well as see how the orphans are brought up and nurtured by humans. Even when the staff tap the orphan panda’s tummy to encourage him or her to poo, it’s charming. No really it is.

Sadly, there are many orphans because, while 50 per cent of pandas give birth to twins, they usually abandon the weakest one. If you haven’t let out an involuntary “ahhhhh” by the time you’ve seen the toddler’s play-wrestling, you’ve clearly got a heart of stone.

However, there are some distressing sequences. One panda’s labour lasts a painful three days while another is rushed into theatre with some serious medical problems.

Steve Leonard has been a vet for more than 20 years but has never had a close encounter with a panda. That’s all about to change as he travels more than 5,000 miles to China, where he goes behind the scenes of three reserves to watch baby pandas grow up. He is granted exclusive access to meet the young animals, witnesses a birth, and follows their development from newborn through to one-year-old toddlers as he reveals the secrets of these endangered creatures.

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