Keith Scholey (born 24 June 1957 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) is a British producer of nature documentaries for television and cinema, and a former television executive. He co-directed African Cats and Bears with Alastair Fothergill for Disneynature. He is also the executive producer of the series 'North America' for the Discovery Channel.
Scholey graduated from Bristol University with a degree in Zoology in 1978 and subsequently completed a PhD in Zoology at the same university. In 1983, he began working as a researcher at the BBC Natural History Unit on David Attenborough’s series ‘The Living Planet’. He rose to become a producer in this BBC department, making programmes for ‘The Natural World’ and ‘Wildlife on One’ series as well as for David Attenborough’s award winning series 'The Private Life of Plants’. He also created and produced the original series of ‘Big Cat Diary’, which has continued for over a decade, began and series produced the ‘Wildlife Specials’ and became the series editor of ‘Wildlife on One’.
In 1998, Scholey became the Head of the Natural History Unit. During his four and a half year tenure, the NHU made the memorable David Attenborough series ‘State of the Planet’ and ‘The Life of Mammals’, and also ‘The Blue Planet’, ‘Andes to Amazon’ and ‘Wild Africa’. The department also reinvented its live broadcasting creating ‘The Abyss - Live’ and "Springwatch’.
In 2002, Scholey became the Controller of Specialist Factual for the BBC’s Factual and Learning division. With responsibility for Science, Arts, Business, History, Religion as well as Natural History departments, he oversaw programmes with a range from landmark programming including, ‘Auschwitz’, ‘Planet Earth’, ‘Egypt’, ‘Supervolcano’ and ‘The Power of Art’ to the classic long-running series of Horizon, Timewatch, Natural World, and Arena and live events including the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
In 2006, Scholey became the Controller of Factual Production for BBC Vision, with the responsibility for all BBC Factual in-house production. During this time, he oversaw the creation of ‘The One Show’, the biggest factual commission in the organisation's history. He was also the Deputy Chief Creative Officer for BBC Vision Productions, with responsibilities across all in-house TV production. In 2008, he resigned from the BBC to pursue a career as an independent film director and television producer.
In recent years, Scholey has directed and produced the feature film African Cats for Disneynature, which is due to be released in the USA on Earth Day, 22 April 2011.(6) He is also the executive producer on the landmark Discovery Channel series 'North America', through his company Wild Horizons Ltd.
Scholey was made a Doctor of Science (DSc) in 2001, by the University of Bristol for his contribution to the public and to biological sciences. He is a trustee of Wildscreen. Scholey is a qualified SCUBA diver and pilot.
Directing and producing
- North America (2013)
- Big Cat Diary (1996)
- Natural Neighbours: Invasion of the Tree Smashers (1996)
- Dawn to Dusk: Elephant Back Safari (1996)
- Wildlife on One: Reef Encounter (1996)
- The Private Life of Plants (1995)
- Wildlife on One: Malice in Wonderland (1994)
- Natural World; Island of the Ghost Bear (1994)
- Prisoners of the Sun (1992)
- Natural World: Running for their Lives (1990)
- Wildlife on One: Haunted Huntress (1990)
- Natural World: Island in the Air (1989)
- The Great Rift (1988)
- Wildlife on One (1994 to 1997)
- Wildlife Specials (1997)
- Nature Specials (1997)
- Disney website: African Cats
- Keith Scholey, ‘Climbing and Gliding in Mammals and Reptiles and the Flapping Flight of Birds’, PhD thesis, (University of Bristol: 1982).
- ‘A natural talent’, Broadcast, 9 September 1998.
- BBC - Press Office - Keith Scholey appointment
- The Facts of Life, Broadcast, 4 August 2008.
- Wild Horizons website