Jeffery Hugh Richard Boswall
One of the great characters of the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) and one of its longest serving producers to date, Jeffery Boswall is a keen ornithologist who was brought up in Brighton. He joined the NHU in 1958 after several years working on the staff of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
His first job was to take over the main responsibility for the radio production of The Naturalist and Birds in Britain. An active officer in the Territorial Army, Jeffery often referred to his army training when co-ordinating productions and, with an obvious flair for organisation, he quickly proved himself a huge success at the BBC. While still having major responsibilities for radio output, in 1962 Jeffery began to direct episodes of the children's television show, Animal Magic.
1964 saw Jeffery change medium permanently and begin a long and distinguished career as a television producer. Spending the next six years working mostly on the famous wildlife strand, Look, Jeffery quickly spotted the talents of amateur filmmakers Ronald and Rosemary Eastman. He produced their award winning film, The Private Life of the Kingfisher (1964), and airing as the 144th episode of Look, it proved one of the most popular and successful episodes in the strand's history.
Look was drawing to a close in 1969, and based on the huge response to the Eastman's kingfisher piece, Jeffery commissioned a complete series of single species studies, known as Private Lives.
The following year, Jeffery put in a proposal for a series of six programmes to be filmed in Ethiopia, with the author and traveller Alan Moorhead. When at the last minute Moorhead was unable to accept the invitation Jeffery, who had impressed all his colleagues with his appearance as a guest ornithologist on Life, was immediately invited to take his place. Working with experienced freelance cameraman Douglas Fisher, Jeffery made Wildlife Safari to Ethiopia (1970), one of the earliest series based about one country.
The success of his African travelogue led to further expeditions to Argentina (1973), Mexico (1976) and Thailand (1979). In the late 1980s, Jeffery returned to the RSPB, taking up a position as Head of Film and Video. He was responsible for numerous productions, including For Love of Birds (1988), a celebration of the RSPB's centenary, and an in-depth examination of pet trade issues in his 1992 piece, Bird Traffic.
A well known ambassador and mentor for the art and science of wildlife filmmaking, Jeffery left the RSPB in 1995, taking up a post as Senior Lecturer in Wildlife Television at the University of Derby. Leaving the University, Jeffery continued to lecture short courses, deliver ornithological lectures and contribute to the ongoing discussion of ethics in wildlife filmmaking until he died in August 2012