In February of this year, Netflix won its first Oscar and its first Bafta. Surprisingly, the awards were not for any of its high-profile drama series, but for two documentaries. The Academy Award went to The White Helmets, a film about a group of Syria Civil Defence volunteer rescue workers. The Bafta winner was 13th, Ava DuVernay’s film about race in the US criminal justice system.
Like an entire generation of wildlife film-makers, Alastair Fothergill was drawn to television by David Attenborough. His 1979 series, Life on Earth, showed the young Fothergill that natural history programming was “a good way to be paid to be near animals”.
Fothergill, who was recently made a Fellow of the RTS, spent almost three decades at the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU). This included a five-year stint as head of department, when he landed several global hits, including The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.
The new fellows represented a broad range of television industry talent.
Included were two of the most influential women in British TV – writer Kay Mellor, best known for Band of Gold and In the Club, and the BBC’s Director of Content, Charlotte Moore.
Also receiving a fellowship was one of the doyens of natural history film making, Alastair Fothergill,
His credits include Sir David Attenborough’s The Trials of Life and Life In The Freezer.
Another new fellow was the much-feted independent producer Stephen Lambert.
The BBC has announced that a new seven-part natural history series, The Hunt, is to start next Sunday, 1 November, on BBC One at 9pm.
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the series comes from producers Alastair Fothergill (The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet) and Huw Cordey (Planet Earth, South Pacific).