University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Wild Isles Live: An Evening with Alastair Fothergill OBE

Sian Scott

BySian Scott

Jun 30, 2024

Last month, I was fortunate to attend Wild Isles Live, an interactive show encompassing the BBC’s landmark natural history series (produced by Silverback Films), staged as part of the 2024 Brighton Festival. Before sharing my thoughts, I want to extend my gratitude to everyone involved in organising the event and for inviting me as a member of the excited audience.

The Wild Isles television series, which premiered on the 12th of March 2023 and was broadcast across BBC platforms, saw the collaboration of major British wildlife non-profit organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and educators such as The Open University. This collective effort addressed both the beauty of the UK and the direct effects of our changing world. Spanning five episodes and comprising three years of footage, the series explores and celebrates the UK’s four distinctive habitats: grasslands, woodlands, freshwater, and marine environments, detailing their unique inhabitants and distinct challenges.

The live experience offered the chance to speak to Silverback Film Producer Alastair Fothergill OBE after he led the audience through a whistlestop tour of the production, including his insights regarding unseen footage.

As I have relentlessly mentioned throughout my time at The Badger, as a true ecologist, my heart lies with everything that inhabits the natural world. However, staying true to my Piscean origin, my real interests can be found in the marine sphere’s caves, coral reefs, and kelp forests. Therefore, my favourite part of the evening was hearing Fothergill’s stories of the production time in the water world of the British Isles, specifically in capturing the unique behaviours of the famous “27” Orca pod in their feeding ground off the Shetland coast.

The thread of the evening underscored the utmost importance of taking action in the face of the realities of climate change. For further insight, visit the BBC’s online viewing platforms to watch the broadcasted series and the online exclusive episode that magnifies the state of our Isles.

The Wild Isles film crew search for a group of orca known as the number 27s - a family pod of eight that are expert seal hunters.

Figure 2: The Wild Isles film crew search for a group of orca known as the number 27s – a family pod of eight that are expert seal hunters (BBC/Silverback Films/Nicholas Gates)

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