BBC to air major nature series written and directed by women

Anne Sommerfield, a director of Animals With Cameras, says ‘we were just the best candidates’ BBC One will break new ground next week by broadcasting its first major natural history series written and directed entirely by women. The programme, Animals With Cameras, also features a diverse cast: its meerkats, chimps, cheetahs and penguins all turn camera operators to capture unprecedented footage that will help scientists understand and protect threatened species. Women in broadcasting will be celebrating the landmark series amid ongoing concerns about the underrepresentation of female directors in film and television – none won any awards at the most recent Baftas or Golden Globes. On the David Attenborough-fronted Planet Earth II, more than half the production team were female; other wildlife series have had all-female producers. But it is understood that Animals With Cameras, which airs on 1 February, is the first major BBC One nature show to be entirely written and directed by women.

The decision was not deliberate, according to one of the directors, Anne Sommerfield. She and her colleagues Hannah Ward and Clare Dornan were “just the best candidates for the job available at the time”.

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