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OU on the BBC: Nation On Film - Kearton's Wildlife

Updated Tuesday 24th October 2006

'Kearton's Wildlife' looks at wildlife photography and film-making in the early 20th century, part of the BBC/OU's series Nation on Film.

Sir David Attenborough and photograph of Cherry Kearton Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team for David Attenborough, BFI for photo

Cherry Kearton was a farmer’s son from Yorkshire and a keen amateur naturalist. He and his brother Richard developed pioneering techniques in order to capture images of wildlife; they used ladders, special tripods and hides made from dead animals.

Cherry later cultivated his skills with the moving image. Although his first pictures of wild birds were essentially ‘moving stills’ he went on to develop as a story teller, filming elaborate sequences and making feature films for cinema audiences in the UK and the US.

Later in his career Kearton narrated and starred in his own movies. He became an international celebrity and was known for his skills as a showman. Kearton’s mission was to obtain the first moving images of certain wild animals, particularly from Africa. His work was hugely popular and also influential.

This programme includes interviews with Sir David Attenborough and Chris Packham; both recognise Kearton’s enormous contribution to wildlife film-making.

First broadcast: Friday 14 Jan 2005 on BBC FOUR

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