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Leslie Jackman 

Leslie Jackman

One of the first children's wildlife presenters on the BBC, Les Jackman was also devoted to promoting the appreciation of local marine life within his native Devon.

As a school's museum officer at Paignton Aquarium, Les realised the educational value of the collection and wrote to the BBC suggesting there was television material to be found there. At the second attempt, Les' letter reached the desk of Patrick Beech, the assistant head of west region programmes. This resulted in an invitation to meet with Patrick and producer Winwood Reade and from January 1959 Les became a host on Out of Doors. As part of the regular Club Room item, local skippers would bring in a catch and Leslie would examine it with his young audience. Children were able to become members of the club and by 1960 there were over 11,000 members and in 1961 numbers had more than doubled.

Ron Peggs, another teacher at the aquarium became Les' partner in an enterprising part-time film business which made six films for the BBC's Look series. The most famous being The Major in 1963, the first natural history film made in colour, produced by Chris Parsons. Leslie filmed the insect sequences at his home in Paignton using specimens collected by John Burton.

Les left the BBC when his suggestion for a new wildlife film about life in a field was turned down as his equipment no longer met with the standards being used on other productions. Leslie instead went on in 1972 to write a book titled The Field which he has followed up with many other publications for both adults and children, including The Seashore Naturalists Handbook and Hobbies for Boys.

Les died in December 2011.

Oral History

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WildFilmHistory Films

film-smallThe Major (1963)Photography 
film-smallUnarmed Hunters (1963)Appearance 
film-smallAfrican Seafari (1970)Film Cameraman 
Leslie Jackman
Leslie Jackman
Tony Soper and Les Jackman
Tony Soper and Les Jackman