Productions – Natural History

Gelada Baboons: The Battles of Braveheart
BBC Wildlife on One

Set in Ethiopia’s Simien mountains, this film tells a dramatic and surprising story of female power and a male gelada’s struggle to hold on to his harem. The gelada is not a baboon, but the world’s only grazing monkey and the sole survivor of a group once widespread throughout Africa. The gelada’s barren home has shaped every aspect of its extraordinary life: not just its shaggy waterproof fur and its strange chest pattern, but also its ability to form the largest group of any primate – 800 monkeys or more can be seen sweeping across the high plateau, filling the air with bizarre chattering sounds unlike anything else in the animal kingdom.

Winner of ‘Grand Prix’ at Albert International Wildlife Film Festival
Producer: Mark Linfield

Ants: The Little Creatures Who Run the World
Nova / PBS and BBC Natural World

Entomologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Edward O. Wilson, shows how ants have become the dominant animal force on the planet by working together in harmonious societies. The professor’s infectious fascination for ant civilization wins over even the most confirmed “formicophobe” (ant hater).

‘Best Science Film’ at the International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula
Producer: Nick Upton

Mpingo – The Tree That Makes Music
BBC Natural World and WNET Nature

A natural history and music cross-over production about the ebony tree of East Africa and its use in the music industry as the wood with which to make clarinets.

Producer: Mike Gunton

BBC Natural World and National Geographic Television

A fresh and highly revealing look at beetles – showing in particular how it is their extraordinary range of chemical tricks that underlies their phenomenal success.

Scientific consultant: Prof. Tom Eisner, Cornell University
Producer: Nick Upton

The Ultimate Guide – Series I
Discovery Channels International

Great Apes – approaching a human’s intelligence, equal to us in parental devotion, surpassing us in strength and agility, the complex society of the great apes is a revealing model of our own beginnings. Using cutting edge computer animation, this master reference to the world’s greatest living creatures brings us into the evolutionary past of the great apes.

Winner of an Emmy for ‘Best graphic design’
‘Best TV series’ at the International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoul
Producer: Nigel Ashcroft

Vampires, Devil Birds and Spirits: Tales of the Calypso Isles
BBC Natural World and National Geographic Television

A celebration of Caribbean wildlife as revealed through folklore, storytelling and carnival…presented and narrated by master storyteller Paul-Keens Douglas from Trinidad.

Producer: Nick Upton

Arachnophobia – The True Story
BBC Natural Neighbours

The true story of how spiders and people have lived together over the centuries. The film follows the therapy of an arachnophobe as well as showing an insight into the life of spiders in the wild.

Producer: Mike Gunton

The Riddle of the Sands
BBC Natural World and National Geographic Television

The animals and human occupants of the world’s best known natural ecosystem, the Ythan estuary in Scotland, and how the invertebrate life of the mudflats is the key to the area’s riches.

Producer: Nick Upton

Nzou: The Elephant That Thinks It’s a Buffalo
National Geographic Television and ITV 1

This amazing film follows Nzou the elephant at her home in a herd of buffalo on the Imire game ranch in Zimbabwe. Murambiwa Gwenziees is the keeper of this special herd of buffalo with its special honorary member, as Nzou bonds with the buffalo. The relationship is not straightforward!

Producer: Dan Freeman

The World in a Wood
BBC Natural World

This film investigates how a continuous 50-year study by scientists at Oxford University is allowing the first effects of global warming to be seen and monitored within the living ecosystem of Wytham Wood.
‘Best Scientific Film’, the International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula
Producers: Nick Upton, John Aitchison and Mary-Lou Aitchison

Orangutan – The High Society
Wild Discovery and BBC Natural World

Filmed in Northern Sumatra, ‘The High Society’ is the most in-depth film about wild orangutans ever made. Filmed firsts include forced copulation and orangutans using tools in the wild.

Producers: Nigel Ashcroft and Mark Linfield

The Temple Troop
BBC Natural World

Drawing on the world’s longest continuous monkey field study, this film follows an extremely eventful year in the life of ‘The Temple Troop’, a group of toque macaques living among the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. Filled with extraordinary behavioural sequences, the film also includes humorous scenes in which the macaques launch a commando-style raid on their human neighbours.

Winner of 12 international awards

Collaborating scientist: Prof. Wolfgang Dittus, Smithsonian Institution
Producer: Mark Linfield

Living Europe
8 Hour series – NRK / SVT / YLE / ORF / DR / WDR / EO / TVP and Nova – PBS

An eight part series that reveals the richness and beauty of dramatically different European wildlife and landscapes. These vary enormously, from the arid southern lands to the cold northern tundra. From high peaks to grasslands – from deserted wildernesses to urban jungles. The series examines the plants and animals that coexist in each of these terrains, such as the wolf in Greece and Spain, polar bears in Svalbard, the lynx, beaver and bison in Poland and Russia, and the brown bear in Bulgaria and Romania.

The book “Living Europe” accompanies the series

Producers: Nick Upton, Nigel Ashcroft, Dan Freeman, Mags MacRae, Jan Walencik
Series Producer: Peter Jones – Series Editor: Nick Upton

The Triumph of Life
6 Hour series – WNET / PBS

Triumph of Life is an epic tale that has the power to change our perceptions of our planet, bringing you life as you’ve never seen it before in the saga of the 4 billion year struggle of Life on Earth. 

The series, narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, begins with a penetrating look at the process of evolution and the driving force behind it — genes.  We are given a glimpse of how life might look on Earth in the future and whether humans have what it takes to survive the next great threat of extinction.

Triumph of Life uses a combination of cutting edge model effects and superb wildlife photography, weaving together the latest scientific revelations with a fresh and entertaining approach to natural history with rare and previously un-filmed animal action.

Producers:  Nick Upton, Emma Peddie, Mark Linfield, Steve Gooder

“I teach high school biology and can’t imagine teaching this subject without these tapes.”

Animal Minds
3 Hour series – WNET / PBS and the BBC

‘Animal Minds’ challenges viewers’ preconceptions of the mental lives of the creatures with whom we share the planet. At the core of our fascination with animals lies their behaviour, but what lies behind that behaviour? In what sense can we say animals think, or feel emotions? Are any animals intelligent? Are animals conscious and aware of their actions? The series addresses all of these questions; combining natural history and science, a strong visual style and strong narrative.

Producers: Paul Reddish, Lizzie Green and Sanjida O’Connell

Baltic Secrets
2 part special – NRK, SVT, ORF, EO, TVP

By combining superb wildlife photography and dramatic documentary footage, these two stylish films portray the secret lives of beavers and wolves in the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They reveal how these shy, but highly controversial creatures interact with people and other animals.

Producer: Nick Upton

The Ultimate Guides – Series II and III
Discovery Channels International

Winner ‘Best Limited Series’ at the Jackson Hole Film Festival

Ants – all the ants on earth put together would weigh as much as all the humans. Older than the dinosaurs, they are the tiny rulers of our planet. With over ten thousand known species, and perhaps as many not yet discovered, ants display some of the most amazing adaptations in the natural world. With its trademark computer animation, Ultimate Guide reveals the marvels of ant anatomy. And with stunning microphotography, we take viewers into their realm.

Winner:  ‘Best of Festival’ at the Japanese Wildlife Festival
Producers: Nigel Ashcroft and Karen Partridge

Crocodiles – what kind of animals hatch from eggs, but can also gallop like horses and swim across oceans? The same animal can go a year between meals, live 100 years, can deliver 16 tons of crushing-force in an instant and have patiently watched the dinosaurs come and go. Explore the world of this amazing reptile in The Ultimate Guide: Crocodiles.

Producers: Nigel Ashcroft and Steve Gooder

Horses – from horsepower to horse sense – from a small cat-sized, multi-towed mammal that evolved into today’s single-hoofed master of power and speed. For many, speed is the most characteristic and compelling facet of the horse. Using slow-motion and exciting graphics, the programme shows the intricate physiology that make that speed possible.
“This episode in the Discovery Channel documentary series is an intelligent, beautifully filmed examination of all things equine, including lore, science and cultural significance. This is not, like so many cable-channel documentaries, just a tossed off assemblage of facts to fill the hour, but rather a definitive portrait of a species.” Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune

“My friend, Arianna had this video in grade 4 and probably still has it. All I can say is it is great, it shows how horses evolved, how mating between donkey and zebras and horses make weird animals. It is for the mature student and adult who doesn’t make faces when they are talking about private parts and mating.”

Producers: Nigel Ashcroft and Ginger Kathrens

Octopus and Squid – explores the world of the octopus and squid – weird and alien creatures – very different from man – strange but extremely intriguing. These highly intelligent creatures have three hearts, blue blood and startling, huge eyes. They live underwater in the sea, have soft, jelly-like bodies without bones, have eight arms and some have two long tentacles to grab prey. Do they have personalities? Why are they so captivating? And frightening?

Producer: Nigel Ashcroft and Emma Peddie

Dolphins – peaceful, intelligent, friendly beings that swim as if they own the sea. Dolphins have long evoked our affection and fascination, but we know little about them. Ultimate Guide takes a fresh look at the world of the dolphin and meets up with scientists who are deepening our understanding of them. With cutting edge computer animation, Ultimate Guide shows what happened fifty million years ago, when a wolf like mammal took to foraging in swamps and estuaries. Over eons these creatures evolved into the family of dolphins, porpoises and killer whales.

Producer: Nigel Ashcroft

Spiders – among the smallest creatures on Earth, spiders use their venom to paralyse insects and eat them alive. But humans must also beware, the black widow is the most toxic of all poisonous animals, and a fiddleback bite stops blood clotting and rots human flesh. Incredible macro-photography gives a spider’s eye view of the world – a view from all eight of their eyes. Using time-lapse photography we show spiders spinning webs that are engineering masterpieces – no wonder cobwebs stick around so long! This Ultimate Guide will reveal spider secrets and show how they’ve become the ultimate little killers.

Best of Festival 2nd Place, Best Sound Effects, Best Scientific Content, Best Use of Graphics, Best Educational Film, the International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula

Producers: Nigel Ashcroft and Emma Peddie