Dian Fossey was a seminal figure: a legendary leader in the wildlife conservation movement, a pioneer and visionary credited with saving mountain gorillas from the brink of extinction and a scientist whose work had a profound impact on our understanding of primates. This landmark new event series has been produced as her definitive life story and a testament to her trail-blazing legacy.

It uses extensive archival footage – much of it previously unseen – photos, personal correspondence and interviews with friends and colleagues, as well as collaboration with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, to shed light on her complex and extraordinary story. Starting in childhood and her early days researching in the Congo, it moves through to her arrival in Rwanda, where she spent 18 years studying and protecting the mountain gorilla population – and made many enemies. When she was brutally murdered there was a long list of people with powerful motives for wanting her dead. Thirty years later, mystery still surrounds her life and death.

With exclusive access to her belongings and personal effects, the series will explore Fossey’s murder and the investigation and trial of her research student, Wayne McGuire, who was found guilty in absentia of her murder by the Rwandan courts. Incredibly, the series also locates a silverback gorilla that Fossey named as a newborn.