Nigel Marven

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Nigel Marven
Nigel Marven at the Webosaurs official launch in Dallas (2009)
Born (1960-11-27) 27 November 1960 (age 53)
Barnet, London, England, UK
Occupation television presenter of nature documentary
Spouse(s) Gill Marven
Nigel Marven

Nigel Marven (b. Barnet, London, 27 November 1960) is a British wildlife TV presenter, television producer, author and ornithologist. He ran the 2008 London marathon in 4 hours 4 minutes to try to raise £20,000 for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society UK.[1]


Marven was born in Barnet, but he was growing up in St. Albans. Since he was a little boy, he loves the animal world, his first ever-pet was a hamster called Hummy. He kept stick insects, boa constrictors and even an eel in a bath. When he was 15, he got young spectacled caiman too. He studied botany at Bristol University until the age of 22 when he left to begin his career at the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol. Over the following years he worked firstly as a wildlife documentary researcher for such programmes as The First Eden and My Family and Other Animals then went on to produce such series as Realms of the Russian Bear. He enjoyed a 12-year professional collaboration with David Attenborough whom he holds in high esteem. In 1998, he moved to ITV where, to his surprise, he found himself being asked to present wildlife documentaries as well as producing them.

He is known[citation needed] for his unorthodox, spontaneous, and daring style of presenting wildlife documentaries as well as for including factual knowledge into the proceedings. This has led some people to compare him to Steve Irwin[citation needed]. In his first television series for ITV, Giants, he swam with a great white shark without the protection of a cage. Other scenes included him having a goliath birdeater spider, arguably the largest spider in the world, walk over his face, and grappling with a fifteen-foot rock python deep in its underground lair. This style of presenting has won him many viewers to his succeeding series and to date he has presented more than 30 wildlife programs and series for TV. Most of his TV shows can be called as 'documentaries of wildlife adventures' and he sometimes gets to dangerous situations.

In 2002 the Impossible Pictures production company asked him to present in the Walking with Dinosaurs episodes Chased by Dinosaurs: The Giant Claw & Land Of Giants, and then Sea Monsters. Then he moved on to Prehistoric Park on ITV, a fictional series about travelling back in time to rescue examples of extinct creatures such as a Tyrannosaurus, Woolly Mammoth, Arthropleura and other prehistoric animals. 2009 saw Nigel feature in season 3, episode 4 of hit action drama Primeval, where he is seen playing with a baby Velociraptor before encountering a Giganotosaurus, which, it is implied, eats him, though this occurs off-screen. Both of these series were also made by Impossible Pictures.

In 2003, he also found his own and independent company Image Impact, start making his very own wildlife films, including a few one-hour specials and then series, such as Penguin Safari and Panda Adventure. His recent series include Untamed China, Wild Colombia, Whale Adventure and Ten Deadliest Snakes, which was first broadcast on Animal Planet in the US in spring 2014 and on Eden in the UK in June of the same year.

During the summer 2014, Eden Channel in the UK started new competition for wannabe wildlife filmmakers called Eden Shorts, the task is to make one-minute video with animals and the best ones can be shown on TV. Nigel, along with Michaela Strachan, is a judge, and he also made some short how-to-guides, available through Eden Channel's website.

During a simulated dinosaur encounter in the third episode of Prehistoric Park, Marven declared himself a 'vegetarian'. Throughout the series he applies the same term to naturally herbivorous animals. In the second episode of Untamed China series he says the team cooked vegetarian food especially for him.

Close encounters[edit]

Although he never was bitten by a badly venomous snake, he has had a few deadly encounters with them. While producing BBC's film The Serpent's Embrace in 1980s, a spitting cobra sprayed its venom into the eyes of Nigel. He spent 2-3 days in the hospital, luckily the venom couldn't get into the blood. A similar encounter happened in December 2008 while Nigel was filming a short film about black-necked spitting cobras for Webosaurs. Though he used to wear a mask, the cobra venom landed in Marven's hair, then mixed with sweat and ran into his eyes, so he stopped the filming until next morning. In his 2008 series Jaguar Adventure he was bitten by a mildly toxic venomous false water cobra. His hand swelled up in within ten minutes, but there weren't any other problems.

In his 2004 nature documentary Bull Shark: World's Deadliest Shark Nigel Marven stood with shark expert Erich Ritter in the water surrounded by sharks. During the filming, a bull shark attacked Ritter's leg and gave him a 30 centimetre bite to his calf. Marven still recalls it was one of the most dangerous moments in his career.

In the third episode of 2012 series Wild Colombia Nigel was bitten by a non-venomous Central American tree boa on his nose, causing blood to cover his face. A similar deadly encounter happened in his 2013 show Ten Deadliest Snakes: China with a king ratsnake.


Nigel is a Panda Ambassador for Chengdu Panda Base in Sichuan Province, China, he's also a patron of The Great Fen Project for restoring vital wildlife habitat, Healthy Planet through which he adopted a plot of land for helping to create new wildlife habitats, and Vale Wildlife Hospital, company that treats injured wildlife in Gloucestershire, Wales.

Many of his TV wildlife programs also seeks to highlight the conservation of nature and endangered species.

Personal life[edit]

Nigel is married and has two children: son Theo, born in 2003, and daughter Eleonora, born in October 2008. He lives with his wife Gill in North Somerset, UK.




External links[edit]