Sandra Oh to Narrate CBC Jane Goodall Doc


A new documentary featuring one of the world’s foremost experts on chimpanzees, Jane Goodall, and narrated by actress Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) is slated to debut on CBC next month.

She Walks With Apes tells the story of the “Trimates,” three pioneering women who went into the jungles of Africa and Borneo to live with humanity’s closest cousins, the Great Apes. Airing on CBC on Friday, September 20, at 8 p.m. and on the free CBC Gem streaming service, the feature-length documentary is a fresh take on Goodall’s early years living with the chimpanzees, and also reveals rarely seen images of Dian Fossey, the scientist who was murdered while working with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.

The two-hour documentary also gives due credit to the third pioneering woman, Canadian Biruté Galdikas, who went to live among the orangutans of Borneo 50 years ago and is still there today. The three women became known as the “Trimates.”

The film, which premieres the new season of CBC’s The Nature of Things, also goes beyond legend and follows a new generation of young women including two Canadians, Julia Badescu and Ruth Linsky, and Rwandan Nadia Niyonizeye, who were so inspired by these trailblazers that they decided to follow in their footsteps and live among the Great Apes.

The visually-rich documentary, which features footage of the chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan characters, was filmed over the course of a year by the father-daughter filmmaking team of Caitlin and Mark Starowicz. Filmed in 4K, She Walks With Apes was commissioned by the CBC for The Nature of Things, the longest-running science series in broadcasting, and is scheduled to be released in both television and theatrical versions in 2019. The documentary is distributed internationally by CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution.

Oh, who provides the doc’s narration, starred for ten seasons as Cristina Yang on the ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and now portrays Eve Polastri in BBC America’s Killing Eve. She is the recipient of two Golden Globe Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards and ten Emmy Award nominations.

“The lives of the three female scientists who made up the Trimates are filled with courage and determination and love for life,” said Oh. “They have inspired future generations and their work continues to underline the urgency of saving the Great Apes and their forest environment. I grew up watching CBC’s The Nature of Things, and I am happy to be a part of the great Canadian doc tradition.”

“People don’t realize that there were actually three remarkable women who embarked on parallel journeys,” said Mark Starowicz. “It’s an intertwined story of adventure, tragedy and redemption that has not been fully told.”

“We climbed for hours every day following gorillas up extinct volcanoes,” said Caitlin Starowicz. “And we journeyed up Borneo rivers following orangutans. It was the most arduous, but most awe-inspiring thing I have ever done.”

Goodall says in the documentary: “I’m always so thrilled when I hear about young people, especially young women, today, who are going out into the field as I did when I was young, and continuing to learn about the chimpanzees but also about the gorillas and about the orangutans, just as I, Dian, and Biruté did.”