On Friday 10th of January, Arrow Vale had a remarkable visit from Emma Napper, a BBC producer well known for her work on Planet Earth 2. Students in the sessions went to ask her all about her career and her work producing documentaries on the biological wonders in the different continents of the world.
Emma worked for an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Sheffield. For her PhD, she studied ants, which she told us about while we interviewed her. She mentioned that she likes filming small creatures as they are fascinating to her, and she often finds herself rooting for them in the harsh climates in which they must survive.
She described working with David Attenborough, who she looked up to as a child, and how he has been very much an inspiration to her throughout her career.
Emma Napper detailed how she works with scientists to document and film new species, such as when film crews were helped by a scientist to film a rare Iranian viper that has a distinct spider look-a-like tail. The viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) waggles the fake “spider” with leg-like scales at the tip of its tail to tempt birds within striking distance.
One student asked her about how she and her camera crew captured shots of different animals, she mentioned that with animals such as lions it is easier to capture them and almost manipulate the footage to portray their story. However, with smaller animals, or those that are nocturnal or hard to find she must work with the outcome of what the crew capture. This was very interesting from a media perspective, to learn the difficulties of her job but also how she produces such ground-breaking documentaries.
Emma’s work as a producer for the BBC has enabled the world to see how the organisms thrive in their unique ecosystems, her presentation was incredibly inspiring and showed the vast opportunities in her career in media and biology.
Article written by Chloe B (Year 12 Student)