Media

Using natural history films to transform global understanding

Media

Nature on screen and in print

Benedict Macdonald has spent over a decade working in the top tier of global nature television, on a diverse range of shows from Springwatch to Our Planet, and at globally-recognised production companies including Disney, the BBC, Netflix and Animal Planet.

Alongside these shows, he has also written content for a range of UK nature magazines, reaching a combined audience of over 1M.

Benedict Macdonald is one of the UK's top nature writers, commissioned by both television and magazines, and the holder of an Emmy award for his work on Neflix's Our Planet.

Television

Great Migrations

Disney 2023
Producer/Director

Great Migrations, announced on 7th February 2022, is an ambitious new series, following great animal journeys every step of the way.

The series makes use of the very latest technology. Ben worked with a brilliant team on this ambitious production, including executive producers Tom Hugh-Jones & Martha Holmes.

Apple 2020
Field Director

Tiny Worlds was an ambitious kid-friendly natural history series which sought to bring a lot of the techniques used by Pixar and cartoon-storytelling to the natural world. The team used a huge range of techniques from studio filming to scope lenses, ultra-macro cinematography and FPV drones to create an immersive new look.

Ben worked as the field director for the film set in Madagascar, filming mouse lemurs hunting for the sugars left behind by flattid leaf bugs, as well as evading Fosa in the process. 

Apple 2020
Assistant Producer & Field Director

Most animals are more active at night – yet the night has never truly been unveiled; until now. In 2019, Apple unveiled an exciting slate of new wildlife documentaries that redefined the industry, showing the planet in an entirely new light.  Earth at Night in Colour, produced by Offspring Films, was one of its landmark new series.

Ben worked as a field director in Africa to push the boundaries of capturing the behaviour of cheetahs and lions. The moonlit cheetah hunts were the first time this behaviour has ever been captured on film.

Benedict Macdonald's Books

Discover Ben's 3 Award-winning Books

“Splendid” – The Guardian

“Visionary” – New Statesman

“Enchanting” – Daily Mail

Disney 2019
Researcher & Field Director

The winner of two Emmy Awards including Best Series, ‘Our Planet’ – was the first specialist conservation landmark series narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Our Planet received widespread critical acclaim, starting invaluable conversations about conservation.

Working with a team of cameramen and producers, Ben’s role was to find and deliver exciting new natural history stories for two programmes; Grasslands and Jungles; the latter Emmy-nominated for Best Script and Best Cinematography. It was an opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s finest producers.

BBC2 2014
Researcher & Story Developer

Ben describes his time working  on Springwatch as ‘a joy’. The 12-hour shifts, from 4pm to 4am, ‘just flew by’, as the team captured a range of fantastic behaviours on their remote cameras, from nesting Bitterns to tree-climbing Badgers, and an adder attacking the nest of a Goldfinch.

As a live TV researcher, Ben found himself at the very heart of Springwatch, reporting back to producers and presenters, who then broadcast the live content to 2.4M viewers. Filmed at RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk for the first time, Springwatch’s human and animal stars captivated audiences around the country.

One Show

BBC1 2013
Researcher & Director

With over 5 million viewers, ‘The One Show’ is a magazine format packing in a huge range of factual variety. In 2013, Ben worked as a researcher and production coordinator across 20 short films, at award-winning production company Icon Films.

He worked with a brilliant team to set-up one-day shoots – tasks ranged from script-writing to logistics, second camera and archive. The short montages ranged from Hobbies hunting on the wing (pictured), to dangerous blowhole diving.

Animal Planet/ITV 2013
Researcher

‘River Monsters’ is a hugely successful factual series devised and produced by Icon Films. In the United States it was Animal Planet’s highest-ranking broadcast for many years. In the UK, it was shown on ITV.

Before moving to ‘The One Show’, Ben researched potential new story-lines for Season 6, based largely around the Amazon.

Discovery 2013
Researcher

Three years in the making, ‘North America’ was an epic series produced for Discovery by Silverback Films in Bristol. It charted the wildlife of a continent through the eyes of its iconic animals.

Ben worked as a post production researcher, fact-checking scripts and tracking down scientists who could explain many of the unique behaviours shown in the series.

BBC1 2015
Researcher

This six part epic uncovered the world of Polar Bears, Blue Whales, Tigers and Ninja Spiders in Autumn 2015. The world of predation was shown in a new way, laying bare the strategies of hunter and hunted in jaw-dropping detail. The series was watched by over 5.5M viewers.

As development researcher for the first six months of the series, Ben had the rare opportunity of helping to find stories for 6 episodes from scratch.  Liaising with hundreds of scientists across the globe, he enjoyed uncovering new stories – the best find was the abseiling Portia spider, featured in the episode ‘Hide and Seek’.

Ben began working in TV back in 2009, with a number of projects under his belt before arriving at Silverback Films in 2012, when his career really took flight.

These previous roles included stints on films for WWF, RDF and Mercury Films, enabling Ben to build a strong reputation for crafting natural history television.

In 2012, Ben worked as a Researcher on two series of note – Deadly Islands for the Discovery Channel, and Johnny Kingdom and the Bears.

Magazines

2012 – Present

Ben has written a few articles for BBC Wildlife, and has appreciated the opportunity to reach such a wide audience through this iconic and ever-developing magazine.

His favourite pieces for the magazine were those covering two topics close to his heart… A 2015 photo feature (top), working with photographer Sam Hobson, made Chris Packham’s Must-See, whilst a 2018 piece (bottom) looked at how British birds once evolved beside giant animals – and still bear the traits of that evolution to this day. 

BBC Wildlife Magazine
BBC Wildlife Magazine

2014 – Present

The RSPB’s ‘Nature’s Home’ Magazine needs little introduction.  It reaches over 1M members of Europe’s largest wildlife charity. Ben first read it as an impatient child waiting in the doctors’ surgery but perhaps reads it with a little more appreciation these days.

His first piece, on the RSPB’s conservation scientists, was available in the issue of Winter 2015. A piece on Ring Ouzels appeared in Spring 2016 and met with a lot of positive reception from readers, and a recent piece, in 2018, covered the science of winter migration.

Nature's Home

2011 – 2016

From 2012 to 2016, Ben wrote as the conservation columnist for Britain’s most popular ornithological magazine, ‘Birdwatching’.  His articles provided a launchpad for ‘Rebirding’, with topics like rebuilding the food chain and returning landscapes to the wild in order to bring back our birds.  

‘Birdwatching’ has proven an excellent place for a series of articles on the decline of the British countryside. The species and topics over the years have been extremely varied, from the urban birds in our cities, to vanishing species like the turtle dove, enigmatic ones like the quail, and a look at how Britain could look for wildlife in 50 years time.

Birdwatching Magazine

Restoring Life