Top BBC Presenter Films Mossel Bay Hikes
View an interview with Julia Bradbury here
Top BBC presenter Julia Bradbury visited Mossel Bay this week with a crew from the British television production company Skyworks to film a documentary on the town’s Cape St Blaize and Oyster Catcher Hiking Trails.
“We’re doing a four-part series on walking in South Africa for BBC Four - which is known as the ‘thinking channel’ because of the serious nature of its material, which is not afraid to tackle complexity,” said executive producer Eric Harwood.
“In our programmes, we try to find out more than just where the walk leads you physically - so we’re also making a social history programme, because we’re examining all aspects of the recent and ancient history of the area.”
Mr. Harwood said that the show could expect to draw an initial audience of between 3- and 4 million viewers, “and would probably be repeated two or three times.”
Besides BBC Four, it will also air on BBC 2.
Much of the success of the programme will undoubtedly come from Ms. Bradbury’s popularity as a presenter. According to The Guardian newspaper’s Gareth McLean, she is “One of the best presenters on British television,” and “manages to be authoritative and warm, funny but not fluffy. Whether it’s wandering fells and craggy horizons on BBC Four / BBC Two’s Wainwright Walks or perched on a desk on BBC One’s Watchdog, Julia is capable and charming. Judging from her guide to Berlin – in Rough Guide to Cities that also covered Rio and Jerusalem – she also knows some right dirty jokes and could probably drink you under the table.”
An important part of Ms. Bradbury’s visit to Mossel Bay included a walk to the Pinnacle Point Caves, and an interview with Professor Curtis Marean of the Mossel Bay Archaeology Project, which is studying the climate of the area over the past four hundred thousand years as it’s recorded in the Caves, as well as the human habitation of the Caves over the past 165,000 years.
Mr. Harwood said that the crew of six (producer, director, presenter, sound man, camera man and production assistant) would also be filming walks in the Augrabies Falls and Kruger National Parks, and in the Drakensberg, and that the four-part series would air well before next year’s 2010 World Cup.
“BBC Four is looking at airing a whole season of programmes about South Africa in the run-up to the event, and we’re planning to produce three more series - on the history of Safaris, on lost and hidden kingdoms, and on South Africa from the air - on their behalf,” he said.
Mr. Harwood said that it helped that “We’ve felt very welcome here (in Mossel Bay). People have been phenomenally supportive, generous and warm - and that makes you want to come back.”
Mossel Bay Tourism’s Marcia Holm said that a number of production crews had already begun planning similar visits to Mossel Bay, and that a Brazilian company had recently announced that it would be visiting in the near future.
“Many of these opportunities to showcase our town and region would never have arisen were it not for the World Cup - which has opened an unprecedented number of doors for South Africa in general and for Mossel Bay in particular,” she said.
“It is indeed the biggest marketing event we’re ever likely to see, and we’re grateful both to FIFA for choosing our country, and to companies like Skyworks for choosing Mossel Bay.”
More about Julia Bradbury at www.juliabradbury.com
10 September 2009