One of the most renowned and respected BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) film producers, Mike Salisbury's fascination with the natural world developed from an early age, whilst living in the Herefordshire countryside.
Mike decided not to attend University and instead became a mechanic with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Africa, where he further developed his passion for stills photography. On his return to the UK and inspired by his interest in science documentaries such as Horizon, Mike approached the BBC about gaining some work experience. After much persistence, Peter Goodchild, the editor of Horizon, allowed him to fill in for a researcher for a couple of weeks.
The early 1970s saw Mike working as a researcher for the BBC Light Entertainment Department (LED) on programmes such as Parkinson and for the Science Features Department on Tuesday Documentaries. Turning down the offer of a permanent contract with the LED, Mike instead opted to follow his passion for documentaries and worked on Horizon for a further three years, progressing to senior researcher. He then moved to Bristol to take up position as assistant producer on The World About Us, with series editor Chris Parsons, and worked on various other projects including a short stint as producer on Animal Magic.
Mike's real breakthrough came with his appointment as assistant producer on Life on Earth (1979), the first of David Attenborough's epic Life series. A ground-breaking and universally acclaimed series, it told the story of the evolution of life, and marked the start of Mike's prolific natural history filmmaking career.
He has since produced many of the BBC's most successful wildlife programmes including The Discovery of Animal Behaviour (1982), Kingdom of the Ice Bear (1983), and was the series editor of The Natural World in the early 1990s, focussing on programmes that tackled conservation issues. Mike has been entrusted with some of the BBC's most innovative and successful series including Private Life of Plants (1995), Life of Mammals (2002-2003) and Life in the Undergrowth (2005).
Mike retired from the NHU in February 2006, but continues to work as an independent producer on The Natural World and other BBC programmes.
In 2006, Mike Salisbury received the Panda Award for Outstanding Achievement at Wildscreen and an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2007.