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Hercules the wrestling bear lives again for TV show

Hercules the bear with owner and wrestling pal Andy Robin. Picture: Paul Raeburn

Hercules the bear with owner and wrestling pal Andy Robin. Picture: Paul Raeburn

  • by NEIL POORAN
 

THE amazing story of how a Scot trained a grizzly bear to wrestle him without being mauled will be told in a new documentary.

Wrestler Andy Robin and his wife Maggie shared everything with Hercules the bear, travelling and eating meals with the animal after buying him as a cub in 1976.

Hercules became a worldwide sensation after he went on the run in the Hebrides in 1980, evading capture for 24 days. An hour-long documentary called Hercules: The Human Bear will air on Channel 5 in April.

The 70-stone grizzly bear shared every inch of the Robins’ lives, from the house they owned in Sheriffmuir, Stirlingshire, to the food they ate.

Mrs Robin said: “With him I shared a charmed life full of adventure, love and laughter that still to this day makes me smile.”

Their close bond meant Andy was able to wrestle Hercules without the bear mauling him and the pair quickly shot to fame as a travelling act.

While filming for an advert on Benbecula, the bear broke free of his tether and swam off, sparking a huge police and army operation to find him.

He evaded capture for 24 days and locals were afraid to venture outside while Hercules was on the loose, with some barricading themselves inside. The bear was eventually spotted on the neighbouring island of North Uist and shot with a tranquilliser dart from a helicopter.

Hercules lived to star in more shows, including the James Bond film Octopussy. He appeared on the front cover of Time magazine before he died of natural causes in February 2000.

Director David Sumnall, of Middlechild Productions, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime story. Sharing your life with a grizzly bear, like Andy and Maggie did, will never be done again.”

In August last year, a large wooden sculpture of Hercules was unveiled on North Uist.

 

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