A gorgeous gibbon has failed to lure her reluctant mate to freedom in time for the final frames of a BBC series.

The final episode of Wild Welsh Zoo was filmed at Manor House Wildlife Park yesterday (Wednesday).

The park was bought by TV star Anna Ryder-Richardson just over a year ago. Since then she has been on a mission to improve the life of 12-year-old Steve, the park's resident Siamang gibbon.

"He's one of my favourites," said Anna. "We hold hands, I feed him through the bars. I just want to pick him up and give him a big squeeze."

Steve had lived his whole life in a concrete cage with just a rusty chair and a couple of logs.

When Anna took over the zoo one of the first things she did was to give the cage a touch of Changing Rooms magic. She painted the interior a forest green and introduced a selection of branches and swings.

The next step to sorting out Steve was to transfer him to a purpose-built enclosure with plenty of space to swing, access to his very own ape island and, very importantly, a mate.

Lisa, a five year old female gibbon,was brought to Manor Park from Fota Zoo in Ireland.

She and Steve soon became firm friends, living harmoniously in the new enclosure.

"So far it's been a love story," said Anna. "In the wild gibbons are monogamous but they chose their partners. They don't have arranged marriages like this one."

Yesterday visitors to the park, along with years two and three from St Florence primary school, waited to see what the gibbons would make of the new island.

As the cameras rolled Lisa enjoyed the delights and giddy heights of the tallest trees on the island, but Steve sat at the entrance to his enclosure vicariously watching. He would not follow her to freedom.

"We have tried to put ourselves in Steve's fur," said Anna. "He has never been on grass, seen his reflection or climbed a tree. For him bars are security."

Wild Welsh Zoo airs on BBC One Wales at 8pm next Wednesday.