How to be a natural history producer

Jonny Keeling, Steve Greenwood and James Honeyborne - three producers from the BBC's Natural History Unit share their advice on how to get into making natural history programmes.

What do you need in order to be a natural history film maker? Having a curious mind and some journalistic experience is important, as it will provide you with the essential skills needed to be able to build and tell great stories. You’ll need to have an idea of how you can tell stories in a visual way, both by watching plenty of natural history programmes and by making your own short films.

A degree can be useful but not essential as executive producer Jonny Keeling explains. “I did a Zoology degree, but that’s not to say everyone here has a degree in Zoology.” The people he works with all come from different backgrounds including a criminologist and an ex banker.

"I guess I thought when I was young that getting a job at the BBC was a job that other people get and people like me don't." – Steve Greenwood

Passion is one of the most important attributes for aspiring natural history programme makers along with the ability to have an opinion on the programmes you watch. 

Finally James Honeyborne, one of the brains behind Africa reminds us to think about and never lose focus on who you are making the programme for – the audience.

Jonny Keeling is executive producer at the BBC Children’s Natural History Unit. The unit produces Deadly 360Andy's Dinosaur Adventure and Deadly Pole to Pole.

Steve Greenwood is a series producer at the Natural History Unit and was formerly the series editor of the long running BBC Two strand Natural World. He has worked on the series Lost Land of the Jaguar and Lost Land of the Volcano.

James Honeyborne is an executive producer at the Natural History Unit and was the series producer for the landmark natural history series, Africa. He was executive producer on the 2013 series of Autumnwatch.