Nigel Marven

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nigel Marven
Nigel Marven at the Webosaurs official launch in Dallas (2009)
Born (1960-11-27) 27 November 1960 (age 57)
Barnet, London, England, UK
Occupation television presenter of nature documentary
Spouse(s) Gill Marven (Divorced)
Website Nigel Marven

Nigel Marven (born 27 November 1960) is a British wildlife TV presenter, television producer, author and birdwatcher. He ran the 2008 London marathon in 2 hours 36 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[2] 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.[3] 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 African 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.

Nigel Marven with brown bear in 1999

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 Nigel Marven's Cruise Ship Adventures which was broadcast in May and June 2015 on Watch. His currently airing series is called Ten Deadliest Snakes, and was first broadcast on Animal Planet in the US in spring 2014 and on Eden in the UK in June of the same year. Season 2 of Ten Deadliest Snakes premiered in autumn 2015 on Eden, while season 3 began airing on the 5th January 2017 on Nat Geo Wild in the UK. Highlights of Ten Deadliest Snakes included, among others, visiting sea krait caves in South China Sea or handling black mamba in South Africa.

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. In May 2015, Eden premiered a film called Eden Shorts: From Lens to Screen presented by Marven. In the show, he meets competition finalists and reveals techniques used to shoot their videos.

Close encounters[edit]

Marven was bitten by a venomous green pit viper in East Malaysian state Sabah in the summer 2014 during filming the first episode of the show called Eating Wild. The snake bit him on the thumb but did not inject too much venom, so Marven spent 6 hours in the hospital, until he had recovered.[4] He has also had a few other very dangerous encounters with venomous snakes. While he was 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 was in Bahamas and 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.[5]

In 2007, while filming Indian rhinos in Kaziranga National Park, Marven and his crew unknowingly got too close to a female rhino with a small calf; the mother rhino charged at them, but since they were riding in a truck, they were able to outdistance her.

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. He is also a patron of the ORCA organization, which protects whales and dolphins in European waters.[6]

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 program in Chengdu Panda Base in China and in San Diego Zoo in the US.

In 2016, Nigel Marven produced and narrated a short film featuring the work of Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, who are fighting against rhino poaching in South Africa. The film is available to watch via internet and is presented by animal campaigner Anneka Svenska.[7]


Nigel Marven was nominated for BAFTA TV Awards in 2000 for Best Features.[8]

In 2015, he was nominated for Donald Gosling Award by Maritime Media Awards for his series Nigel Marven's Cruise Ship Adventures.[9]

In 2016, he received award from Cruise Lines International Association.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Nigel Marven married Jenny Hull in September 1996, but they separated four years later. Nigel fathered Jane Braham's son, Theo, but went on to marry Gillian Impey on 1 May 2004. They also have a child. [11] During 'The Wright Stuff'(14th July 2017) Nigel announced he is currently going through his second divorce. [12]. His children are one son Theo and daughter Eleonora. [13]

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. Nigel confirms he is a vegetarian on his official website by stating that the Peregrine falcon is his favourite animal and that he would love to be such a bird, but because he is a vegetarian eating raw pigeon would make that hard.[14] In Panda Adventure Marven states that he is "usually teetotal" when having a celebratory drink with a team of Chinese trackers who led him to see pandas close-up in the wild.




External links[edit]