What is your favourite animal and why?

Peregrine falcon. I would love to be able to soar and swoop like these majestic birds. Eating raw pigeons would be hard for me as a vegetarian, but peregrines can only survive on flesh and for the aerobatics it would be worth it!

 

Do you have any pets?

Leopard geckos, royal pythons, snapping and snake-necked turtles, blue-tongued skinks, crested geckos, bearded dragons, chameleons, turkeys, two owls, a scorpion and a tarantula!

 

What is the best place you've ever visited?

Everywhere is exciting!

 

What was your most dangerous animal moment?

My first film as a Producer was called The Serpent's Embrace. I wanted to dispel the myth that mongooses attack large snakes (those encounters are set up by snake charmers). I was in Africa with dwarf mongooses but didn't have a snake for the scene. I went swimming in my hotel pool one evening and a big snake was slithering next to the pool. Perfect, I thought! I chased the snake into the pool to cool it down, then tried to grab it as it slithered out. I noticed it had flattened its neck vertebrae- it was a cobra; perfect again! Once more I chased it into the pool to cool it down some more, then I approached again, only to be blasted in the eyes with venom! It was a spitting cobra, and I experienced the most excruciating pain ever. It was a bumpy four-hour truck ride past a pride of lions to the hospital. There was no permanent damage done, as the venom couldn't get into my blood, but I was blinded for 2-3 days.

 

What is the most painful thing that's happened to you whilst filming?

I did a piece for Nigel's Wild Wild World whilst covered in bees. Cotton wool was stuffed up my nostrils to stop them crawling up my nose, but as I talked some went in my mouth and stung me. I managed to finish talking with swollen lips and tongue. We then had to film the swarm being blown off my head with a leaf-blower. Before we started shooting, I had asked the crew to be sure they were ready; I didn't want to have to repeat the scene. I was word-perfect, but the sound recordist's batteries had gone flat half-way through! I swore a bit, but then did it all again.

 

Do you have any hobbies?

I'm passionate about bird watching, it's something you can do anywhere, on location or even on holiday. My favourite bird group are the waders, I'd love to see every species of shore bird in the world.