Steve Backshall is a British TV presenter who is best known for his work in nature documentaries. He has worked for the BBC as well as National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Here are ten things about him that you may not know.
1. He Was Raised On A Smallholding In Bagshot
He was raised by his parents on a smallholding, where the family took care of a number of rescue animals. A smallholding is a small farm where people grow crops that they primarily use to feed their own families. His parents both worked for British Airways and so they didn’t work on the smallholding full time. He credits his parents and the upbringing that he had with establishing his passion for wildlife and conservation.
2. He Traveled A Lot When He Was Young
After he left college he went backpacking around Asia, India and Africa. It was on this trip that he gained his love for adventure. He returned to the UK to study at the University of Exeter, where he gained a BA in English and Theater. The site of the university also lists him as the recipient of an honorary degree. After he had finished his studies at the university he went to live for a year in Japan.
3. He Was Employed By National Geographic Channel As Adventurer In Residence
He sold a film featuring footage of himself that he had filmed when he was in the jungles of Columbia to the National Geographic Channel. They were very impressed with what they saw and offered him a job as adventurer in residence. As part of his job he produced and presented wildlife and natural history shows that were aired on the channel. This allowed him to continue with his love of travelling and conservation work.
4. He Hosted The Really Wild Show After Moving To The BBC
He left the National Geographic Channel after he had accepted a job at the BBC. He was one of the main presenters on the children’s program The Really Wild Show. The show was one of the longest running children’s programs that the BBC produced and it ran for twenty years. After this show ended he stayed with the BBC as the host of another children’s show Deadly 60, which is probably the show for which he is best known. In this show he spent six months traveling the globe to find the sixty of the deadliest animals in the world. His adventures were shown in a 26 part series.
5. He Has Written Fiction Books For Children
He told The Guardian that reading books was a big part of his life when he was young. He wanted to share this love of reading with others and so wrote a series of books aimed at children. The books feature children who battle against adults to try to protect the environment and wildlife and are known as The Falcon Chronicles. He has also written several non-fiction books which recall some of the experiences he has had on his expeditions.
6. He Competed In Strictly Come Dancing
He took part in the twelfth series of the BBC dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing. His partner in the show was Ola Jordan. They finished in eighth place overall out of fifteen total contestants. Even though he was very physically fit when he took part in the show, there were times when he found the routines and rehearsals quite demanding. He had injured his foot in a climbing accident some years previously and some of the routines left him in a lot of pain. He often needed to take painkillers while he was competing in the show.
7. He Has Filmed A Documentary With Brian May
He and Brian May filmed a documentary together for Channel Five. The documentary was called Meet The Hedgehogs and it explored the things that people can do in their gardens to help these creatures. Both men went behind the scenes at a hedgehog rescue center to highlight the work these centers do in saving the lives of hedgehogs in Britain. The documentary was in two parts and also looked at why hedgehogs are so important in Britain and why the decline in their population needs to be reversed.
8. He Is Married To The Olympic Rower Helen Glover
He met the rower Helen Glover when the two took part in an event for Sport Relief in 2014. They were married two years later in a private ceremony on a clifftop in Cornwall with views of St. Micheals Mount. Steve has said in the past that it was definitely love at first sight on his part and the couple remain very happily married. Since their first meeting, they have gone on to attend several other events for Sport Relief but this time as a couple. They currently have three children, which includes twins that were born in January 2020.
9. He Is An Ambassador For The Scout Association
According to the official website, the role of the Scout Ambassador is to highlight how scouts and cubs can help young people gain the skills that they need for life. Steve was part of the scouts when he was young and it taught him some of the skills that he uses today in his expeditions. He has attended a number of scouting events where he is able to talk to the children in person, which can be very inspiring for them. His wife is also an ambassador for the organization.
10. He Was Awarded An MBE In 2020
He was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Years Honors. This was for services to wildlife conservation and for his charity work. Many of the charities that he is patron of were quick to offer their congratulations on his social media pages. The theme that ran through many of these posts was that Steve has worked hard for many years in support of these charities and that they were glad he was getting the recognition that they felt he deserved.
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