Feature image credit: Louis Walker

CCCU Alumnus Steve Backshall returns

Popular wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall made his return to Canterbury Christ University (CCCU) for the first time since his graduation in May.

The Christ Church alumnus gave a talk on careers in wildlife media, that touched on not just his own experiences but also advice on how to get experience in the industry.

Backshall is best known for his time working for the BBC, where he presented Deadly 60 and was awarded two BAFTAs for the series in 2011.  More recently, he can be seen in his series, Expedition with Steve Backshall, which has seen him travel across the globe including climbing mountains in the Middle East and trekking through the jungles of South America.

CCCU Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Rama Thirunamachandran said how important it is that alumni continue to engage with the university community.

“Alumni are our most important ambassadors for the university. in many ways, the most important thing alumni can do, is to come back and do talks like the one we have just heard, and I think part of being the Christ Church family is not just students and staff but our alumni as well.

The talk was open to both former and current students studying media or science courses at Christ Church.

One former student, Nathan Barfoot, who studied film, radio and television, said that seeing the talk was fantastic.

“I really was blown out of the water by all the information we received in such a short amount of time.”

Current student Megan Dobson, who is studying for her doctorate in environmentalism through screen media, also said how the talk was an inspiration to post graduate students.

“I think it’s quite important especially as a post grad student because it inspires you to do the same when you’ve graduated as it’s someone who’s already reached the finish line.”

Backshall was able to attend graduation in May 2022 after achieving his masters by research in bioscience.

The talk began with a breakdown of his career from the start, picking up a camera in the jungles of Columbia and being the ‘Adventurer in resident’ for National Geographic Channel International, to working for the BBC, creating the BAFTA winning Deadly 60 and all the expeditions in between.

Drawing on his own experience Backshall offered advice to those looking to get into wildlife media.

“The world of television, particularly wildlife television, is an incredibly exciting one. It’s one that offers so much to so many people but it’s really hard to get into.

“If you are interested in heading into this field, first of all, develop an idea and preferably lots of ideas… Ideas are the currency in the media that cannot be beaten, any company any channel, any commissioner that you go and speak to is going to want to hear about your ideas.”

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