Dilys Breese

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Dilys Breese
Born (1932-06-02)2 June 1932
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died 22 August 2007(2007-08-22) (aged 75)
Cause of death Cancer
Resting place Churchyard, West Kington, Wiltshire
Residence West Kington, Wiltshire
Nationality British
Education Oswestry Girls' High School
Alma mater St Andrews
Occupation Television producer
Employer BBC
Known for Wildlife documentaries
Awards Golden Jubilee Medal (BTO)

Dilys Breese (born 2 June 1932, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire;[1] died 22 August 2007[1][2]) was a natural history television producer for the BBC[3] and an ornithologist with the British Trust for Ornithology, who commemorate her contribution by awarding the Dilys Breese Medal, funded by her bequest to them.[2]

Breese was brought up in Wales,[3] she was educated at Oswestry Girls' High School,[1] then graduated from St Andrews in 1954,[1] with an MA in English Literature and Language.[3]


After graduation, she applied for a position as a trainee studio manager with BBC radio.[3] While working on shows like Woman's Hour she developed an interest in natural history,[3] and by 1970 was producing the majority of BBC Bristol's natural history output,[3] with presenter Derek Jones.[3] With Jones, she created the successful radio series The Living World and Wildlife.[3]


In 1970, Breese joined the BBC Natural History Unit,[3] where she produced television shows including The World About Us, Wildlife on One and The Natural World.[3]

She left the BBC in 1991[3] and set up her own company, Kestrel Productions,[3] making several short programmes until deteriorating health prevented her from working.[3]

Conservation work[edit]

Breese became a council member of the British Trust for Ornithology in 1973[3] and was its Honorary Secretary from 1998–2001.[3] She chaired the working group developing 'Garden BirdWatch', which has since become the largest year-round citizen science project in the world.[1] In 1983, she was the first recipient of the BTO's Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding service to the Trust.[1][3]

Notable films[edit]

  • The Great Hedgehog Mystery (1982) - first film to show hedgehogs mating[1]
  • In-Flight Movie (1987) - won at the New York International Film and TV Festival; and at the Wildscreen film festival in 1988[3]
  • Meerkats United (1987) - voted the best wildlife documentary of all time by BBC viewers[3]
  • Trivial Pursuit: the Natural Mystery of Play (1988) - audience of 12 million[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Paine, Barry (2007-10-17). "Obituary: Dilys Breese". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Whitby, Max. "A Gong For Barclay". BirdGuides. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Dilys Breese". WildFilmHistory. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 

External links[edit]