What's the conservation story now?
Jonnie Hughes was educated at the Universities of Leeds (BSc Ecology), Warwick (MEd Science Education) and Imperial College, London (MSc Science Communication). He worked as a lecturer in biological sciences for seven years, before becoming a freelance science journalist, writing for broadsheets such as The Times, The Guardian and The Independent, and periodicals such as BBC Wildlife Magazine, Geographical and Focus Magazine.
Jonnie joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 2002 and spent the next seven years producing for the BBC and the independent sector on a wide range of programming within the natural history genre, including live studio and OB formats (‘Test Your Pet’, ‘Springwatch’), presenter-led series (‘Jungle’ with Charlotte Uhlenbroek, ‘Corwin’s Quest’, ‘Nigel Marvin’s Shark Island’, ‘Trees and Me’ with Michael Heseltine), science documentaries (‘Nature Shock’, ‘When Animals Talk’, which won the Genesis award for Outstanding Documentary in 2006), and observational documentaries (‘Curious Tribe’, ‘Game Ranger Diaries’).
In 2009, Jonnie took a sabbatical from producing to write a popular science book on the subject of cultural evolution for Simon and Schuster (US) called On the Origin of Tepees.
Jonnie rejoined the BBC Natural History Unit in 2010, working on the development of series such as ‘Planet Earth Live’, ‘Monsoon’ and ‘Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild’. In 2011 he took up the post of Head of Development at BBC Earth – the new commercial wing of the Natural History Unit. During his time there, he sought and secured productions across a number of media platforms including television, online, gaming, apps, exhibitions, permanent attractions and giant screen. His most significant projects included the ‘Earth Unplugged’ You Tube channel, the $20 million Orbi permanent attraction in Tokyo, the launch of BBC Earth Giant Screen Films, the re-boot of the BBC’s ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ franchise across all platforms, and a new venture in the travel market: BBC Earth Journeys.
In December 2012, Jonnie joined Executive Producer Alastair Fothergill (‘Blue Planet’, ‘Planet Earth’, ‘Frozen Planet’) at Silverback Films to work as a producer on the Arctic and forests episodes of the 2015 landmark series ‘The Hunt’. The series has since won awards at BAFTA, Wildscreen, Grierson and Jackson Hole.
Jonnie is now working on two series for Silverback – ‘Our Planet’ for Netflix (2019) and ‘Perfect Planet’ for the BBC (2020). ‘Our Planet’ is a conservation series, produced in partnership with WWF, and intends to be a game-changing tool in the fight against global biodiversity loss.