TONY SOPER is a writer and broadcaster who co-founded the BBC's famous Natural History Unit, was its first wildlife cameraman and became its first film producer. He cut his teeth on the ground-breaking 'LOOK' series and organised far-flung wildlife adventures. Subsequently as a freelance he devised and anchored the live television BIRDWATCH programmes, presented the film series DISCOVERING BIRDS and BESIDE THE SEA, and the long-running environmental series NATURE on BBC2. He has presented many television films for BBC and for National Geographic. But in a parallel career he was one of the pioneers of expedition cruising, with over forty years of experience running small vessels on birding cruises as well as lecturing on everything from seaside tripper-boats to the largest and grandest cruise ships.
As Expedition Leader in both the Arctic and Antarctic he has crossed the dreaded Drake Passage well over a hundred times, following the sun across both hemispheres in the style of the globe-spanning Arctic tern. He has an infectious enthusiasm for seagoing birds, seals and whales.
His fourteen books include monographs on Owls and Penguins; his back-garden Bird Table Book was a European best-seller; his field guides to the Arctic and Antarctic are international best-sellers found in every polar travellers duffle bag. Other titles include Birdwatch, The National Trust Guide to the Coast, Oceans of Birds and The Shell Book of the Shore. He is an enthusiastic diver and small-boat sailor. His wife Hilary is a painter; they have two sons, one a seagoing expedition leader and one working for the BBC.