St Swithun’s enjoy talk from wildlife film director and producer Alastair Fothergill

03 Apr 2013

Renowned wildlife film director and producer Alastair Fothergill delivered an inspiring talk to pupils at St Swithun’s school recently as part of the school’s academic enrichment programme.

Alastair has produced some of the most memorable BBC wildlife programmes presented by Sir David Attenborough, including ‘Life in the Freezer’, ‘The Blue Planet’, ‘Planet Earth’ and more recently ‘Frozen Planet’.

Pupils were fascinated to hear the details behind the production of these award-winning portrayals of the natural world including the difficulties which need to be overcome to capture such wonderful images.
Captivating stories and video clips included tracking polar bears using state of the art manoeuvrable camera equipment in the Arctic, ice diving and the filming of Emperor and Adélie penguins in the harsh Antarctic climate of -40◦c.

Replying to some perceptive questions at the end of the talk, Alastair revealed that ordinarily only 1 in 200 of the wildlife images filmed are used in the final piece and that his career was launched by winning a university film making competition which then led him to work on the BBC’s ‘The Really Wild Show’.

Year 8 pupils Flora Toyne-Sewell, Josephine Gelsthorpe and Bella Monkcom were enthused by Alastair’s talk, saying ‘It was fascinating to hear about how film crews deal with such climate extremes and to understand more about the technical aspects behind the making of such amazing images’.

The academic enrichment programme at St Swithun’s is for all pupils, with girls in Years 7-9 following a programme of activities such as astronomy, thinking skills, experimental art, discovering the news and the great egg challenge while girls from Years 10-13 have a choice of courses including ethics and science, Socratic discussion and UK political issues. The programme includes regular lectures from outside speakers.

Photo: Alastair Fothergill