Some updates …

It’s been a while since my last news, there have been a couple of trips in rapid succession, and the series that I spent much of the last couple of years working on, Life Story, has begun to be broadcast on BBC1.

I had a lovely trip back to Alaska – this time it really was the last shoot for the BBC’s Alaska series. We needed one more behavioural sequence for the summer programme that illustrated how animals prepare for the coming winter, and Pikas provided the perfect storyline. I’d filmed them a couple of years ago for Life Story in Canada, this time we needed an Alaskan location. I found an absolutely beautiful spot at about 1,000m elevation with a corrie lake surrounded by scree slopes.

My filming position for the pikas, beautiful.

My filming position for the pikas.


There were quite a few pikas around, but due to the lateness of the season their activity was pretty low key. The individual I focused on popped up maybe 3 times a day to feed and gather a mouthful of grass from the area in front of my camera position – but it was just enough to get a nice sequence. The weather was fantastic; cold but clear, and the huge volume of windblown seeds – willow and fireweed – that drifted up from the valley below made it look like it was snowing at times.

Alaska looking lovely a couple of weeks ago

Alaska looking lovely a couple of weeks ago


I then had a week or so at home before flying off to Chile for the BBC’s Patagonia series to set up a studio shoot filming Darwin’s Frogs. This species has the most bizarre reproductive behaviour you can imagine. Once they have mated the male guards the eggs, which are deposited on the ground, and, after a week or so he eats them. He ingests them into his vocal sac rather than his stomach, where they then develop into froglets – sometimes this can take months – before he pukes the tiny froglets up to face the big wide world. Very enlightened parenting, and rather more dedicated than I’d sign up for.

Our Dawin's Frog set, ready for some hot amphibian action

Our Dawin’s Frog set, ready for some hot amphibian action

These frogs are endangered due to habitat loss and climate change. We built a lovely little set at a captive breeding programme at one of the universities, and by the time I had to come home the two pairs we had in there were starting to show some interest in one another. Fingers crossed that they will get in the mood and there will be the heartwarming sound of male frogs barfing up their kids in the near future.

A highly random photo of the slightly spooky corridoor outside my hotel room in Chile

A highly random photo of the slightly spooky corridoor outside my hotel room in Chile

The big news has been that Life Story, the 6 part BBC1 series which I spent a lot of time working on, has just started being broadcast. It will continue at 9pm each Thursday for the next 5 weeks. My main contribution was to programmes 3 & 4, for which I filmed wild dogs, chimps, hermit crabs, honeypot ants, bald eagles, pikas, lions and the wildebeest migration across the Mara River. From what I’ve seen so far it looks fantastic, it was a brilliant team of people to work with and there are some wonderful sequences across the whole series.


We also learnt a couple of weeks ago that the BBC One LifeĀ feature film, for which I filmed the Japanese Macaque (snow monkey) sequence, won an EMMY for best cinematography, many congrats to all involved.