Steve is one of the busiest presenters on television, mainly working for the BBC’s Natural History Unit. He has had his own season of programmes on Eden television channel, alongside legends David Attenborough and Bruce Parry. Before that, he was ‘Adventurer in Residence’ at the National Geographic Channel.
Steve has been passionate about the wild world ever since he could crawl, and, growing up, counted as his best pals the animals that lived around him – from the asthmatic donkey, to the grass snakes in the manure heap! After leaving Exeter University with a degree in English and Theatre studies, Steve studied martial arts in Japan, attaining his black belt. Over the following years, Steve wrote for the Indonesian Rough Guides and, during his travels, became conversant in the local language, drank blood with uncontacted tribes, nearly got caught in fatal crossfire in riots in East Timor, came nose to nose with Komodo Dragons, and attempted to walk solo across Irian Jaya (a woeful failure)!
Armed with an idea for a television series, Steve headed out to Colombia. Living in the jungle, he wrangled snakes and ended up in a Colombian jail (through no fault of his own)! National Geographic Channel International bought the resultant video and Steve was taken on as ‘Adventurer in Residence’, producing, filming and presenting adventure and natural history programmes. Steve has circumnavigated the globe time and again, venturing into the Sinai desert , completing the Israeli paratroopers selection course, catching anacondas, vipers and cobras, and (perhaps the best job ever) making “The Ten Great Dives of the World”, for the long-running series ‘Earthpulse’.
In 2003, Steve moved to the BBC’s Natural History Unit, where he took his place on the long running children’s wildlife programme ‘The Really Wild Show’. The following three years were awash with wildlife highlights; sharing a beach with 75,000 nesting olive ridley turtles, having a baby mountain gorilla take him by the hand, and having a red-eyed tree frog leap into his face.
Next, Steve joined the Natural History Unit’s fledgling expedition team, making the first ascent of a jungle peak and dropping into a vast sinkhole in the Mulu mountains in ‘Expedition Borneo’. In ‘Lost Land of the Jaguar’, he made the first ascent of Mount Upuigma in Venezuela, slept on the vertical clifface, and found unknown species of animals on the summit. He also abseiled to the bottom of the Kaiteur Falls in Guyana to the soaked wonderland below.
In ‘Lost Land of the Volcano’, Steve was the first outsider to enter the Volcano Mount Bosavi – where the team discovered as many as 40 new species, including the largest rat in the world! Steve also took part in a brutal caving expedition opening up new passage in Mageni Cave in New Britain.
Other series included ‘Expedition Alaska’, where he was almost swallowed by humpback whales, and was swept into the guts of a glacier, ‘Wilderness St Kilda’, ‘Extreme Britain – Caves’, ‘Springwatch Trackers’, Nature Reports for the One Show, and ‘The Venom Hunter’, where he endured the stings of hundreds of bullet ants (the world’s most painful stinging invertebrate) in an initiation ceremony.
Steve now fronts the BBC kid’s series ‘Deadly 60’, travelling the world to learn about the most inspiring predators. He’s been squirted with ink by Humboldt squid, flirted with by tarantula, charged by elephants, and stared out by thresher and great hammerhead sharks, but still maintains that wild animals pose no threat to people – in fact quite the opposite.
Outside television, Steve started studying for his biology degree in 2000 with the Open University, attained his diploma in Natural Sciences, and has completed one of his finals courses, though is struggling to find time to complete the degree! He has published several books, ‘Venom’, ‘Deadly 60’, ‘The Wildlife Adventurer’s Guide’, ‘Looking For Adventure’. He has also written his first fiction novel, ‘Tiger Wars’, the first in a series of 4 adventure stories, which was published in May 2012. He has also just completed a 23 date UK tour throughout June and July 2012 promoting 'Tiger Wars'.
Steve has completed many endurance events; finished in the top third of the field in the Marathon Des Sables, the top ten of UK’s Tough Guy, 5th in the Welsh 1000m peaks marathon, and completed the Devizes to Westminster kayak race. Steve’s outdoor sports CV includes having climbed the sixth highest mountain in the world (Cho Oyu 8201m), and many other ascents around the globe, as well as being passionate about rock and ice climbing, all disciplines of kayaking and cycling.
If you would like to write to Steve, please send you messages to:
FAO: Steve Backshall
Jo Sarsby Management
58 St John's Road
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