Interview with Alastair Fothergill, Producer of Planet Earth.

Whether it’s a camera suspended from a bicycle wheel, suspended from a wire, scaling a mound of bat droppings or hut in a rainforest set up months in advance to capture the illusive birds of paradise, the efforts involved in producing natural history content are staggering. Given that the reaction of so many viewers to the BBC’s natural history output is “how did they do it?”, Alastair Fothergill is a very appropriate interviewee in this series. The programmes he is best known for, including Frozen Planet and Life in the Freezer, feature both spectacular images of the natural world and feats of filmmaking innovation. Each of Alastair’s major series took several years to complete with teams working across many different parts of the world recording often filming in single locations for many months. In this interview, Alastair discusses both his own career path, which took him from producing student films at Durham to becoming Head of the BBC Natural History Unit, and how his own films are put together.

How did broadcaster John Sergeant decide on what to do as a career?

John-Sergeant

Travelling to Washington DC and witnessing Martin Luther King’s speech at the Washington Monument certainly helped. University saw John diversify into a number of different areas including comedy and theatre, I asked him why he chose journalism over his other pursuits.

“I suppose I had a choice between being a comic actor of some kind and being a journalist and I always thought that journalism would be more exciting, I thought we would travel the world, which in those days was quite difficult to do. If you wanted to go to Vietnam for example, it was quite difficult to do that if you were an ordinary person, where as if you are a reporter, it’s often horribly easy to find yourself in Vietnam because that was the big war that was going on and there were a lot of reporters involved.”