Mark Strickson is an internationally respected producer and director of documentary programmes. After taking a degree in zoology he moved to Bristol's "Green Hollywood", joined Partridge Films and had early, huge success with "Ten Deadliest Snakes" fronted by the then-unknown Steve Irwin. Mark then became Head of Programmes at the world-renowned company Oxford Scientific Films (OSF). During his tenure OSF won both an Emmy and two Wildscreen Golden Pandas (for Bug World, made for Channel 4) . More recently he spent three years with Natural History New Zealand before forming his own production company. Regular clients for Mark include National Geographic, Discovery and Animal Planet with further projects being made for the Travel Channel, WNET, ZDF and, in the United Kingdom, C4, C5, ITV and the BBC. His work has been outstanding and sometimes groundbreaking; for example his programmes were the first to capture the leaps of the Jerboa and changed scientific understanding of Komodo dragons. In 2013 he produced and directed an observational documentary series about South African anti-poaching squads. After several years of running his own production company Mark was recruited by ITV where he ran the Edinburgh office, producing "Border Life" and parliamentary coverage. In 2017 Mark returned to New Zealand to produce a series called "Modern Dinosaurs" for the Discovery Channel. Currently he is filming a series on volcanoes.
Bougainville Television Project
For most of 2010-11 he worked with the Australian company Rockwallaby Productions in Qatar on a commission for the Qatari government, making a series of documentaries to support the country's successful bid for a chair on the UNESCO world heritage site committee. His team filmed a series of big one-hour documentaries about the unique wildlife of the region such as the jerboa and sand skink. The region's flora was also captured in "The Colours of Qatar".
To view extracts from the team’s productions click on the links below:
Jerboa - Mark's team were the first to capture the leap on film
The Desert Sands - the story of the sand skink.
Modern Dinosaurs 2017
Mark spent the year filming a new Discovery Channel documentary series called "Modern Dinosaurs", a series of six programmes looking at how the isolation of New Zealand and Australia led to their becoming "the ultimate storehouse for discontinued zoological models."
And here's Mark (back of shot!) filming in the Naracoorte cave, a newly discovered fossil site in a secret location in South Australia.
This observational series follows a group of trainee rangers in the Kruger National Park.
Click here to view the series on the Al-Jazeera website, including an interview with Mark on Google+
10 Deadliest Snakes
10 Deadliest Snakes
This was the first documentary that Mark directed, still available on DVD and a huge hit.
Mark gave an interview to the Malaysia Star in 2005 where he recalled the time:
'What happened was: I and three other people in an office in London got together a project called The 10 Deadliest Snakes in the World. And it was all in Australia. We went to Australian zoos and universities to find someone who would be able to present this. We wanted somebody who is a good snake-handler and who can talk to the camera. Steve's was one of the tapes that came back, and we thought we would take a risk with this guy. He was either going to be a disaster or he would become something phenomenal. In the end he turned out to be something phenomenal. I think filmmaking has moved on from those first films with Steve. At that time, it was revolutionary. They took the camera off the tripod and it was action. It was what was happening in drama, in NYPD Blue. When I look back at those first films with Steve, they look dated to me. But at the time, they were absolute reality and they changed things. And I think Steve's films have brought a larger audience into natural history. Natural history films were previously very serious and they weren't very popular. In global terms, not many people watched them. A David Attenborough programme got maybe three or four million people on UK TV. But the first Steve Irwin programme got 11 million people! I think what David does is exactly what Steve does. David is really enthusiastic about animals and you can see that when you watch him. Steve is also very enthusiastic. They're basically doing the same things in different ways. But the time was right for Steve. The time was right to go for a bigger audience for natural history."