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WildFilmHistory » Home » Films » Peter Scott: Woodpeckers

Peter Scott: Woodpeckers  (1955)

Heinz Sielmann in the studio

In this hugely successful production, Peter Scott interviews world-renowned filmmaker and passionate naturalist Heinz Sielmann about his remarkable film, Woodpeckers.

First viewing Woodpeckers at the International Ornithological Congress in Switzerland, Scott lobbied to get Sielmann on his new wildlife show, christened Look shortly after the broadcast of this memorable episode.

On a set designed to resemble his studio in Slimbridge, Scott discusses filming techniques and the birds themselves with Sielmann, their analysis illustrated with excerpts from the groundbreaking documentary.

Sielmann's footage showed life as no bird-watcher had seen it before, with views inside the woodpeckers' nest holes, close-ups of feeding, and even infra-red footage of bird action in complete darkness. Pioneering many techniques which included drilling sections in rotting trees to capture the birds' extraordinarily long tongues seeking ants and grubs, Sielmann's sophisticated footage caused a sensation in Britain.

The popularity of this half hour programme was so immense that the BBC's switchboard was jammed for an hour following its airing and on the appreciation index, it ranked second only to the Coronation.

Copyright holder

Copyright Holder: Heinz Sielmann Stiftung

Film credits

Photography: Heinz Sielmann
Presenter: Peter Markham Scott
Presenter: Desmond Hawkins

Related links

Woodpecker (1954)
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Heinz Sielmann in the studio
Heinz Sielmann in the studio
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