Simon King, Wildlife cameraman and presenter
My friend and mentor, the late Michael Kendal, helped me hear the chaffinch flight calls from the greenfinches. He saw my interest and passion and poured gentle knowledge in to the mix. Mike was the BBC NHU Film Librarian but a super field naturalist and ornithologist. We made two series of Man and Boy together.
Hugh Miles helped me forge my passion and knowledge as a wildlife cameraman.
I dropped biology as an ‘O’ level subject. I felt the curriculum stifled my passion and interest for the subject by forcing the learning of topics such as the human digestive system and the sex organs of a flower. My ‘test’ results in secondary school for biology when it was part of the compulsory subject list were consistently in the 90% + scale, and my biology teacher was perplexed by my decision to drop it as an O level subject. My response to her questioning my decision was precocious and arrogant but in essence I stand by it. To paraphrase “You are teaching the subject I most love in the world. But the way you have to teach it is killing it for me. I shall continue to follow my passion and read everything I can get my hands on to further my knowledge, but most importantly I shall observe and learn”.
I left school before my 17th birthday before ‘A’ levels and did not go to university. I have been making natural history films in one guise or another from the age of 10, so that's almost fifty years now, but I regard myself as a naturalist who happens to film wildlife, talk about wildlife, write about wildlife, take people to watch wildlife, try my best to conserve wildlife and wild places and have the good fortune to deploy the knowledge I have gleaned over the decades in a myriad of disciplines.
I have employed many people over the years and if any had come to me with a GCSE, A level or Degree in Natural History they would have been met with an open door to an interview.