Walter John Kingdon
23 February 1939
|Died||6 September 2018 (aged 79)|
Walter John Kingdon (23 February 1939 – 6 September 2018), known as Johnny Kingdom, was an English wildlife filmmaker and photographer specialising in his local area of Exmoor in north Devon and west Somerset.
Before finding fame, Kingdom worked as an explosives expert, lumberjack, farmhand, quarryman, poacher and for over 50 years the gravedigger for his local parish.
Following a head injury sustained while driving a tractor in his job as a lumberjack, Kingdom spent some time convalescing and developed depression. To aid in his recovery, a friend lent him a video camera and suggested he film wildlife on Exmoor. This led to a career spanning 20 years, with series and documentaries being shown on a number of British television channels.
His 2006 series Johnny Kingdom: A Year on Exmoor was shown on BBC Two. The series coincided with the publication of his autobiography, Johnny Kingdom - A Wild Life on Exmoor. A follow-up series, Johnny's New Kingdom, documenting his project to create a wildlife haven on a 55-acre (22-hectare) plot of land which he had purchased on Exmoor, was shown on BBC Two in 2008. Kingdom has also made several one-off programmes, including visits to Lapland and to the Scottish Highlands. In 2015 he presented a four-part series for ITV called Johnny Kingdom's Wild Exmoor.
In later years he regularly had a stall at Barnstaple Pannier Market from which he sold signed copies of his books, DVDs and photographs of wildlife.
Kingdom died in September 2018 from injuries sustained in a digger accident on his land near Knowstone in North Devon. He was buried at St Mary's Parish Church, Bishop's Nympton, in a grave that he had dug.
- ^ "Walter John KINGDON – Inquest, No Jury". Her Majesty's Coroner for the Exeter and Greater Devon District. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- ^ a b Sale, Jonathan (23 November 2006). "My First Job: Johnny Kingdom, the wildlife film-maker, was a lumberjack". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 June 2022. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- ^ a b Billen, Andrew (5 March 2008). "Horizon; Johnny's New Kingdom; Monster Moves". The Times. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.(subscription required)
- ^ Howells, Sarah (14 September 2018). "Tributes pour in for 'legend' and 'magical friend' Johnny Kingdom". North Devon Gazette. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- ^ Cooper, Joel (7 September 2018). "A life in wildlife: Johnny Kingdom through the years". DevonLive. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- ^ Smart, Matt (7 September 2018). "'A legend lost': North Devon TV personality Johnny Kingdom has died, aged 79". North Devon Gazette. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- ^ "Wildlife presenter Johnny Kingdom killed by digger". BBC News. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- ^ "Obituary: Johnny Kingdom". The Economist. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 22 August 2020.(subscription required)