When presenter/producer Mark Jordan started filming Cruel World, he soon realised it was not going to be an easy ride. In his attempt to expose cruelty to dogs in South Korea,
When presenter/producer Mark Jordan started filming Cruel World, he soon realised it was not going to be an easy ride. In his attempt to expose cruelty to dogs in South Korea, and abuse to elephants in Thailand and to bears in Bulgaria, he was forced to stop shooting on many occasions.

'I was attacked twice by Korean butchers,' he says. During the making of the first programme, which looks at the illegal trade in dog meat in South Korea, he was threatened with a knife and had dog's blood thrown over him.

Every year, 2 million dogs are butchered in South Korea and sold in street markets for their meat. The meat is thought to have an aphrodisiac quality if the dogs are tortured, and so they are hammered to death, electrocuted or hanged.

The idea for the series came after Jordan did 5 x 3-minute reports on animal cruelty for Channel 5 News last summer and the public's response was incredible. 'People were so incensed about seeing these stories on the news, but they were left high and dry in terms of what could be done,' he says.

The programme revolves around Jordan rescuing a dog and bringing it home to England in an effort to show how an individual can take action. 'The idea was that within the half hours you would hit people with the problem,' he says. 'Then in the second part, you'd look at the answers.'

Although they were trading openly, the dog meat butchers objected to being filmed. So covert filming was the only option. Apart from concealing a camera in a bag, Jordan also shot footage using a tiny camera hidden in a pair of glasses. With this camera he always knew exactly what he was shooting and the image quality was impressive. 'It's not the hazy, wobbly stuff that programmes were putting out a few years ago,' says Jordan.

The other two programmes didn't require covert filming, but one did require some deception. In the second programme, he shot footage of elephants being abused in Thailand's tourism industry while posing as 'a stupid tourist' alongside a WWF ranger pretending to be a guide. As a result, he was his own cameraman for some of the filming. He used the Sony PD 150, which allowed him to shoot discreetly.

During production, he wanted to end each programme on a high note. But when one of his featured animals nearly died in quarantine in England from a virus and the tracking device on a baby elephant that was returned to the wild didn't work and the elephant went missing that began to look rather hopeful.

Once he had been commissioned, he used some footage he'd shot already, but the main filming happened over eight days in South Korea, three weeks in Thailand and three weeks in Bulgaria. He was allowed three weeks' editing for each programme.

The series marks Philip Armstrong-Dampier's debut as a documentary maker and executive producer and he believes his angle is original: 'A lot of animal films like this are just a catalogue of horrors,' he says. He believes they often appeal to a certain audience who just confirm their preconceived beliefs. 'What we wanted to do was get new people to watch and say: "Look this is really grotesque," but allow them a sense of hope.'

CRUEL WORLDBroadcaster: Channel 5Producer: ITN FactualStart: 20.30, 9 JulyLength: 3 x 30-minutesExecutive producer: Philip Armstrong-DampierCommissioning editor: Chris Shaw PRODUCTION CREDITS Episode 1 Producer/director: Mark Jordan Cameraman: Malcolme Edmonds Editor: Pete Roemmele Episode 2 Producer/director: Mark Jordan Cameraman: Mark Jordan Editor: Pete Roemmele Episode 3 Cameraman: Malcolme Edmonds Producer/director: Mark Jordan Editor: Matt Seccul Executive producer: Philip Armstrong-Dampier