Canine Origins - The Wolf in Your Dog : Talking Dogs series (Pets on Film/CIDBT)
Roger began his TV career co-presenting BBC TV’s Animal Magic alongside the legendary broadcaster Johnny Morris. Most of Roger’s TV presenting has been on wildlife, but he is best known for his groundbreaking BBC-TV series Cats which was filmed over 3 years in 14 countries around the world.
Animal Magic was produced at the BBC’s Bristol studios, where Roger presented items on animals such as ocelots, badgers and a chameleon (that leapt into the camera but came out unscathed!), and location film items such as on Roger’s own study of earthworms on motorway verges! Roger and Johnny Morris flew to the Galapagos Islands to present an Animal Magic Special on the islands and their amazing wildlife from giant tortoises to blue-footed boobies.
Roger Tabor and Chris Baines were the “Green Team” presenters on BBC TV’s Country File, and Roger covered a range of stories such as historic salt production in the Blackwater Estuary, and footpath access on farmland, to the draining of the Fens. He also wrote and presented his own full programme specials, Life Returns to Broadland and Constable Country, where he brought together his favourite blend of wildlife, habitat and history of these areas.
Cats is the BBC TV series for which Roger is best known around the world, it has been shown in many countries, including as well as the UK, the USA, Japan, Australia etc. As a biologist Roger is recognised as one of the world’s authorities on cats, and his studies of them in different countries gave the basis for this series which he wrote and presented. Roger took the story of the cat in this 5 part series from its wild ancestors into domestication and its early domestic life and deification in Ancient Egypt, and rediscovered a cat cemetery that had been lost for the last century. He traced the medieval demonisation of the cat in Britain and Europe, its spread around the world with the formation of the “Aristocats” the historic breeds such as for example the Siamese and Korat in Thailand. He looked at cat as hunter and the reaction to that in Australia. His series exposed the issue of “designer breeds” to a wide public for the first time. His book of the series was a best-seller.
Roger also wrote and presented Understanding Cats which was first shown on BBC TV before being shown as Pledge Programming on PBS in the USA, and in other countries. In this series Roger focussed on the relationship between owners and cats, from cats’ fouling to early socialisation of kittens. In an earlier BBC QED programme Walk on the Wildside viewers were introduced by Roger to his long term pioneering study of London’s urban feral cats, in particular the black and white cats of Fitzroy Square.
Roger can be currently seen in the USA on PBS’s Animal Attractions TV where he is presenting the regular slot on how to understand better the cat who lives with you! He talks of the need to socialise kittens and how to tackle problems like cats leaping up onto potentially dangerous kitchen surfaces.
Roger Tabor’s passion for exploring the natural history of species in the context of our social history has imbued not only his cats series’, but many of his other series such as his 6 part BBC TV series The Mill’s Life that he wrote and presented about the life of a water mill in Essex across a thousand years from the wild landscape to that of the working mill, and the abundance of species it supported from banded demoiselle damselflies to water voles. Roger searched out the owners across the centuries and the working millers, and the mechanics of the mill itself, and was instrumental in its restoration and conversion.
Roger’s BBC TV series The Traditions of Christmas that he wrote and presented explored the evolving nature of the festival through its how it has been practised across the centuries including how Cromwell banned celebration of Christmas completely yet Dickens revived it.
Earlier his BBC Natural Profile series and his Thames TV City Wildlife series both looked at wildlife in historic landscapes. Latterly in Going Wild his 20 part series for Anglia TV focussed on the great diversity of wildlife and wildlife habitats in the East Midlands and East Anglia but imbued with that true feeling of place that a recognition of our input into that landscape can bring. From filming at dawn the rising of huge flocks of pink-footed geese on the Wash to picking up an adder on heathland, or seeking the true oxlip in ancient woodland on chalky boulder clay to tasting the aromatic savour of Alexanders growing wild on the coast at Minsmere, Roger’s considerable experience as a practical field naturalist combined with his presentation skills made this a memorable series.
Many of Roger’s programmes reveal his profound knowledge of plants as well as animals, and he presented Wild About Herbs for PBS TV in the USA. PBS describe the Pledge Special programme as ‘compelling’. In it Roger balanced the historic uses of herbs, particularly the medicinal uses, against current research.
His book of the programme was published in the USA and the UK.
Roger has appeared as a contributor and guest on innumerable TV programmes in the UK and US, and was resident naturalist for BBC TV East for a number of years.
To find out more about Roger Tabor’s areas of expertise see Books and Background
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