Stephen Tompkinson has revealed he came to the rescue on the set of Wild At Heart after one of the show’s stars – a pregnant giraffe – fell into the swimming pool.
Stephen, who plays vet Danny Trevanion in the ITV1 drama, was leaving the set when he was told about the accident and returned to help with the rescue.
Lucy, a nine-year-old giraffe, is thought to have broken into the Leopard’s Den set and fallen into the pool after getting thirsty.
Stephen said: “It was such a bizarre sight – as soon I walked round the corner all I could see was this great neck sticking out of the pool.”
The show’s producer, Adam Friedlander, said: “We are not 100 per cent sure how she fell into the pool, but we think she may have been drinking from it and, with her head being too low, became disorientated and fell in.
“The animals on the reserve roam free and we are of course very mindful of their safety and try to interfere with their habitat as little as possible.
“However, accidents can happen and it appeared Lucy had managed to squeeze through the fence before falling into the pool.”
The crew abandoned their first attempt at rescuing her – draining the pool and building steps out of sandbags for the giraffe to walk up – because of the risk of her slipping and falling over.
The fire brigade were called as the crew worked into the night and Lucy finally walked out of the pool unscathed when a trench was dug and she was tempted out with food.
Lucy, who was rescued when the cast were in South Africa in September to film a new series of the drama, was around 14 months’ pregnant with the offspring of Hamley, an on-screen favourite who was killed by a lightning bolt last year.