Vanessa graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Human Sciences. She joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 1991 as a researcher on the Human Animal series, here she got a rapid initiation into a whole range of bizarre filming situations. She spent time with LA gangs, drank cow’s blood with the Maasai and...read the rest
Vanessa graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Human Sciences. She joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 1991 as a researcher on the Human Animal series, here she got a rapid initiation into a whole range of bizarre filming situations. She spent time with LA gangs, drank cow’s blood with the Maasai and ate raw caribou brain with the Inuit.
Vanessa went on to work on a number of very successful series for the BBC producing programmes for Postcards from the Country and Land of The Tiger, a major six-part series on India where she travelled extensively, filming tigers, elephants, freakish spiders in the rainforest, and a multitude of elusive wildlife in the Himalayas. Over the next few years Vanessa produced a number of one-off documentaries for the BBC, including the award-winning Spiders from Mars, and Bear Crime. To film the first, she had to conquer her fear of spiders, and for the second, fell madly in love with black bears which she tracked at night through the car parks and camp-sites of Yosemite.
She also produced two programmes for the Animal People strand, including Animals on Call and Anything to Declare. The latter involved spending over a month in Miami Airport filming detectives bust wildlife smugglers as they entered the US. This involved a close call with a voodoo priestess and a fair amount of `walking on the wild side’ of Miami. In 2000, Vanessa began work on a BAFTA nominated landmark series for the BBC, Life of Mammals, narrated and presented by Sir David Attenborough. Working on this series fulfilled a life-long ambition to work with Sir David. After the series, Vanessa went back to a volcano in Uganda to continue filming the remarkable story of a herd of elephants that mine for salt underground in Cave Elephants. Last year, Vanessa completed the Mountains and Ice Worlds episodes of Planet Earth. Her highlights include filming the first major sequence about wild snow leopards as well as directing the remarkable story of a male polar bear forced to hunting walrus due to global warming. She went back to Pakistan to make a follow-up film about snow leopards – working there with a camerawoman one of the most challenging situations of her career.
In June 2007 Vanessa became Series Producer for the sequel series to Planet Earth, which is called Frozen Planet. Over the next 3 years she will be part of the most ambitious broadcasting event in television history, which will aim to create the ultimate portrait of the polar regions before they melt. Her remaining ambition is to film the colossal squid which lives in Antarctic waters and is believed to kill whales. This will not be easy…read less