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 54)
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 grew up in St. Albans. As a child he loved animals. His first 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 he was 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 in 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 a goliath birdeater spider, arguably the largest spider in the world, walking over his face, and Marven grappling a fifteen-foot rock python deep in its underground lair. This style of presenting has won him many viewers and to date he has presented more than 30 wildlife programs and series for TV.

In 2002 the Impossible Pictures production company asked him to present the Walking with Dinosaurs episodes Chased by Dinosaurs: The Giant Claw & Land Of Giants, and Sea Monsters. He then 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 others. 2009 saw Marven 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 off-screen. Both of these series were also made by Impossible Pictures.

In 2003, he founded his own independent company Image Impact, and started making his 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 of 2014, Eden Channel in the UK started a new competition for aspiring wildlife filmmakers called Eden Shorts. The task was to make one-minute videos with animals, the best ones to be shown on TV. Nigel Marven, along with Michaela Strachan, was a judge, and has 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]

Marven was bitten by a venomous green pit viper in Malaysian state Sabah in the summer 2014 during filming first episode of the show called Eating Wild. The snake bit his finger and injected venom, so Marven spent 6 hours in the hospital, until he was alright. He has also had a few other deadly encounters with venomous snakes. While producing the BBC film The Serpent's Embrace in 1980s, a spitting cobra sprayed its venom into his eyes. He spent 2-3 days in hospital, though luckily the venom did not enter his blood. A similar encounter happened in December 2008 while Marven was making a short film about black-necked spitting cobras for Webosaurs. Though he wore 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 within ten minutes, but there were no other harmful effects.

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 as one of the most dangerous moments in his career.

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


Nigel Marven is a Panda Ambassador for Chengdu Panda Base in Sichuan Province, China. He is 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, England.

Many of his TV wildlife programmes also seek to highlight the conservation of nature and endangered species. For example, his series Panda Adventure provides a look at giant pandas breeding in Chengdu Panda Base in China and in San Diego Zoo in the US.

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]