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BBC AMERICA takes a walk on the wild side as actor and wildlife enthusiast, Dominic Monaghan (Lost, Lord of the Rings), brings his love of the slithering and crawling creatures of your worst nightmares to the network. WILD THINGS WITH DOMINIC MONAGHAN premieres Tuesday, January 22, 10:00pm ET. The eight episode hour long travel-adventure series follows Dominic as he explores the remote corners of the globe in search of some the most badass animals in the world. He’ll educate the masses on their origins, their unique qualities and why we shouldn’t be so quick to squash them on sight.
In each episode, Dominic takes the viewer on an intimate action-packed journey through some of the most exotic and fascinating places in the world. He’ll backpack through the rainforests of Ecuador on the hunt for a few million flesh-slicing army ants; the caves of Venezuela in search of a giant venomous centipede rumored to snatch bats out of the air; the arid deserts of Namibia to face off with a deadly thick-tailed scorpion, and many more locales to get up close and personal with some of the most dangerous and elusive creatures known to man. Along the way, viewers will experience a heart-pumping, world-wide adventure as Dominic encounters vibrant locals, quirky experts, tasty cuisine and a host of creatures that inhabit the strange and wonderfully wild places on our planet.
“Shooting Wild Things for BBC AMERICA is a dream come true for me. I’ve journeyed to some of the most amazing places in the world in search of creatures I’m interested in, on holiday just for fun – and now I get to take an audience with me and educate them in the process,” says Dominic Monaghan, executive producer and host. “The locals I’ve met, the food I’ve eaten and the places I’ve seen are just fascinating and I’m so excited to share this exhilarating visual experience with the audience.”
Dominic’s passion for wild things developed long before his acting career began. As a child, he worked alongside his father – a teacher and biologist – and learned the proper way to handle, care for and appreciate the creatures of the wild. Never losing his love for insects and reptiles, Dominic owns a small forest in India, and has worked with the animal rights group PETA. He’d often be found bug hunting while on location in Hawaii while filming Lost, and his California home is purposely “infested” with a growing menagerie of rare beasts including two giant spiders, a darkling beetle, a Scolopendra, a gecko, and dozens of mammoth hawk moths. Dominic hopes to dispel the myths we have about these creepy crawly creatures, and shed new light on their importance to earth’s ecosystem.
CAST AND PRODUCTION CREDITS
Host Dominic Monaghan (Lost, Lord of the Rings Trilogy)
Executive Producers Dominic Monaghan
David Brady (Survivorman)
Co-Executive Producers Jen Kuzmyk for Cream Productions
Simon Raikes and Philip Clarke for Wildfire Television
Series Producer Paul Kilback (Greatest Tank Battles)
Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan is a BBC AMERICA original production, produced by Cream Productions and Wildfire Television.
EPISODE 1 – VIETNAM – GIANT WATER BUG
Dominic travels from the snake-infested rice paddies of Vietnam’s Mekong Deltato a crocodile filled lake in search of one of the world’s most dangerous aquatic insects, the giant water bug. Episode 1 premieres Tuesday, January 22, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 2 – LAOS – GIANT HUNSTMAN SPIDER
Dominic journeys to Laos in search of a remote underground river that is home to a venomous, massive-fanged creature the size of a dinner plate, the giant huntsman spider – an arachnid so rare that only a few humans have ever interacted with it in the wild. Episode 2 premieres Tuesday, January 29, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 3 – NAMIBIA – THE BLACK HAIRY THICK-TAILED SCORPION
Dominic braves the remote wilderness of Namibia, Africa on the hunt for the continent’s largest, deadly creature, the Black hairy thick-tailed scorpion. Episode 3 premieres Tuesday, February 5, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 4 – VENEZUELA – SCOLOPENDRA
Dominic journeys into the wilds of Venezuelain search of a remote cave rumored to house the world’s largest centipede, Scolopendra gigantea – an aggressive, venomous carnivore that is rumored to snatch bats right out of the air. Episode 4 premieres Tuesday, February 12, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 5 – CAMEROON – THE GIANT WHITE GOLIATH BEETLE
In an attempt to locate one of the rarest animals on the planet, the giant white Goliath beetle, Dominic must infiltrate the “black market” insect trade in Cameroon, Africa. Episode 5 premieres Tuesday, February 19, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 6 – ECUADOR – ARMY ANTS
Dominic travels deep into the heart of the Ecuadorianrainforest to face off with a four million strong colony of flesh-eating, venom injecting army ants – a terrifying mass of insects that may be the largest ant colony ever discovered in the “new world.” Episode 6 premieres Tuesday, February 26, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 7 – MALAYSIA – GIANT HONEY BEES
Dominic faces his greatest fear when he must get up close and personal with hundreds of thousands of giant Malaysian honey bees – a formidable insect that lives in hives hundreds of feet above the jungle floor. Episode 7 premieres Tuesday, March 5, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 8 – GUATEMALA – BEADED LIZARD
Dominic travels to Guatemalaand immerses himself in the rich world of Mayan legend and lore as he seeks out one of the most endangered and venomous reptiles on the planet, the Guatemalan beaded lizard. Episode 8 premieres Tuesday, March 12, 10:00pm ET.
DOMINIC MONAGHAN – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND HOST
Dominic Monaghan has demonstrated incredible versatility in a career that has included such diverse characterizations as the Hobbit Merry in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Charlie Pace on ABC’s hit series Lost, a quantum physicist in the TV mystery FlashForward, and an electrical-powered mutant known as "Bolt” in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Dominic recently produced and starred in The Day, where he played the leader of a post apocalyptic group being hunted by zombies. Other recent credits include the comedy TV series Goodnight Burbank andCrackle’s new original seriesThe Unknown.
Before his world-wide success he became known in England for his role in the British television drama Hetty Wainthropp Investigations. His other feature film work includes Glenn McQuaid’s I Sell the Dead, (which was featured at Slamdance Film Festival), Colin Teague’s Spivs, Richard Jobson’s The Purifiers and Rebecca Cook‘s Shooting Livien. Dominic has also combined two of his life’s passions – photography and nature - and held his first exhibit in early 2008, Happy Accidents.
BBC AMERICA delivers US audiences high-quality, innovative and intelligent programming. Established in 1998, it has been the launch pad for talent embraced by American mainstream pop culture, including Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay, Graham Norton, and successful programming formats including ground-breaking non-scripted television like Top Gear and top-rated science-fiction like Doctor Who. Owned by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, BBC AMERICA has attracted both critical acclaim and major awards including an Emmy®, five Golden Globes® and ten Peabody Awards. The channel attracts one of cable’s most affluent and educated audiences and is available on cable and satellite TV in more than 80 million homes. It broadcasts in both standard and high-definition in all markets, with content available On Demand across all major digital platforms. Online, www.bbcamerica.com is the place to go to dig deeper into pop culture with a British twist. Find out more by visiting www.press.bbcamerica.com or follow us on www.twitter.com/bbcamerica.
WILD THINGS FACTOIDS
VIETNAM –GIANT WATER BUG –EPISODE 1
Giant water bugs are large aquatic insects that belong to a group called True Bugs. GWBs ambush their prey on underwater vegetation and are able to camouflage themselves well. With an extremely painful bite, not even gloves will protect you from their needle-like mouthparts that can pierce right through.
Dominic says: “My search for the giant water bug was extremely challenging. It spends time in muddy water that is sometimes filled with crocodiles! So you can imagine how difficult it was to attempt a stealth search while kicking water around, trying my damndest not to disturb a hungry croc.”
LAOS –GIANT HUNSTMAN SPIDER –EPISODE 2
The giant huntsman spider (Heteropoda maxima) is considered the world's largest spider (by leg-span) boasting just under a 12 inch leg-span and up to 1.9 inches in body length. Reportedly discovered in Southern Laos, they use venom to demobilize or digest prey, but are not deadly to healthy humans. If provoked, they will bite but the victim will suffer only minor swelling.
Dominic says: “The search for the giant huntsman spider led me to the interior of one of the most breathtaking caves I’ve ever seen. It felt like I was in a different galaxy. I’ve never seen some of the animals we encountered. They were so shy, so alien, it was otherworldly really.”
NAMIBIA – THE BLACK HAIRY THICK-TAILED SCORPION - EPISODE 3
The black hairy thick-tailed scorpion (Parabuthus villosus) is about five-and-a-half inches in length. Handle with care as the physiological action of Parabuthusvenom can cause eye envenomation, so goggles and eye-wash should be used when handling.
Dominic says: “These scorpions are extremely aggressive and venomous so getting close was very taxing. If they feel threatened, forget about it, they won’t hesitate! Add the Namibian heat to the equation and you’ve got a recipe for a very difficult shoot.”
VENEZUELA – SCOLOPENDRA – EPISODE 4
Scolopendra gigantea (giant Amazonian centipede) are among the world’s largest species of centipedes. With up to 46 yellow-tinted legs and a red-maroon body, they can reach up to 10-12 inches or more in length - about the size of a man’s forearm. With a bite that can cause swelling, chills, fever and weakness in human adults, the Scolopendra can cause extreme pain.
Dominic says: “The underground cave we traveled to in search of the Scolopendra was an extremely oppressive filming location. The place is pitch black and there are aggressive, venomous animals that call this place home. Let’s just say my torch may have provided light, but it also made me a walking target. But I came across some interesting cave-dwelling animals that made the risk worth it.”
CAMEROON – THE GIANT WHITE GOLIATH BEETLE – EPISODE 5
The goliath beetle is one of the largest insects on Earth due to its weight and size which can reach up to 100 grams and five inches respectively. This species can usually be found in the tropical forests of central Africa as warm temperature suits their survival. Adult beetles are attracted to sap flows on trees, where males defend territories with their horns and fight for females. The life of the adult beetle is very short compared with its larval and pupal stages combined. Once it reproduces, it doesn’t have much time left.
Dominic says: “We spent our entire time in Cameroon searching for one of the rarest insects on the planet and were lucky enough to find it on our very last day.”
ECUADOR – ARMY ANTS – EPISODE 6
Army ants get their name from the fact that they conduct large scale, organized “swarm raids” to catch their prey. They set out en masse, in groups of about 200,000 that fan as wide as 15 yards. The swarms cover about 20 yards an hour and can kill and eat animals thousands of times their size.
Dominic says: “Army ants are nomads so finding their location was arduous. Discovering where they were was just the beginning. Locating them again was almost never guaranteed.”
MALAYSIA – GIANT HONEY BEES – EPISODE 7
The giant honeybee (Apis dorsata) is one of the largest honeybees in the world. The bees make their honeycombs in incredibly tall trees making them safe from predators. The honeycomb hangs from the bottom of the branch and spans about 12 inches wide across the base. Collecting their honey is very dangerous as they are very defensive and equipped with a very powerful sting. When one stings you, it releases a pheromone that triggers hundreds or even thousands more bees to attack, making it possible to be stung to death.
Dominic says: “I am terrified of heights but the ascent into the “bee tree” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I had to try. A 360 degree view of the forest from 120 feet high is just breathtaking.”
GUATEMALA – BEADED LIZARD – EPISODE 8
The Guatemalan beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti) is an endemic venomous lizard that inhabits southeastern Guatemala. They range from 24inches to 36 inches and are the rarest and most endangered of the extant populations of Heloderma horridum.
Dominic says: “Working in such a remote part of the country proved challenging when it came to food. I survived on bananas and Gatorade.”