A KESTREL called Phyllis is set to capture the hearts of animal lovers when a new BBC documentary is screened in the spring.

Viewers will follow the progress of the grounded bird of prey as part of a new show called More Creatures Great and Small, which focuses on the work of Barnard Castle-based Castle Vets and a second practice in Fife, Scotland.

In the series, Phyllis is taken to the Ark on the Edge animal sanctuary near Woodland, Teesdale, with a damaged wing.

Another of the shelter's animals, an old black and white cat, is also set to become a star of the 15-part show.

Pat Kingsnorth, who runs Ark on the Edge, explained: “Nobody wanted to take black and white cats, let along an old one.

“Fortunately, this has a happy ending and the film crew followed the cat going to its new home.”

Ms Kingsnorth said she hoped the series would provide a much-needed boost for the animal sanctuary's work.

“We had a really good run of rehoming some of the aninals, but it has gone a bit quiet,” she said.

This has coincided with in influx of unwanted pets, mainly cats, rabbits and even horses.

“It is really quite upsetting. We won't take anything in that we can't look after or we haven't got the room for.”

Castle Vets director Richard Matthews said it had been an unusual experience working with a camera crew.

“They were very good about keeping out of the way and were understanding about the constraints of our job,” he said.

“It was quite time consuming, but I think we all enjoyed it. They were here last summer during a lovely spell of weather.”

He said most of the practice's clients were also quite happy to let the cameras record the vets' dealings with livestock.

The series was originally planned for BBC2, but Mr Matthews said it would now be broadcast on the main BBC1 channel.

*The Ark on the Edge is a charity which relies on fundraising and donations. Three events are planned for the coming weeks.

On Saturday, March 1, a table top sale will be held at the United Reformed Church, Hall Street, Barnard Castle, from 10am to noon.

A lucky dip and tombola has been organised at Pets at Home, Bishop Auckland Retail Park, on Saturday, March 8, 10am to 3pm.

Finally, an Easter egg hunt will take place at the Ark on Easter Sunday, April 20, from 11am to 3pm.

Donations can also be made online at www.arkontheedge.org.uk