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James Honeyborne

James Honeyborne

Wildlife filmmaker and creator of Blue Planet II (BSc Biology of Plants 1992)

Creating impact through social and digital media

James Honeyborne is a wildlife film producer who spent 25 years at the BBC’s Natural History Unit, and is now the CEO of Freeborne Media.

A Bristol-based production company which recently signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce nature and science documentaries.

Freeborne also creates social and digital media designed to create 'impact'.

He creates content focusing on environmental issues and effective behavioural change.

As an Executive Producer, he is best known for creating the Emmy and BAFTA-award winning Blue Planet II.

The documentary series, narrated by David Attenborough, is credited with prompting greater awareness of plastic pollution both in the UK and internationally.

In addtion to this, it is credited with causing an increase in applications for marine biology courses.

An image of James Honeyborne standing by a body of water.

A short interview with James:

What did you enjoy most about Newcastle as a city and your time at Newcastle University?

The people make the city and the people are just so friendly. And there's great access to a spectacular coastline and Northumberland countryside. I'm proud of having coached what I believe was the first Newcastle University women's rugby team, way back in 1992. I also created an environmental cartoon that ran in the Courier Newspaper. It was my first stab at raising awareness for environmental issues.

How do you feel your degree has helped inform your work tackling climate change?

My degree was the Biology of Plants and Animals. It was broad ranging and included subjects like Ecology and Biogeography which opened my mind to how the planet works and the importance of natural systems to us all.

Good storytelling can transform our understanding of complex issues like climate change and make them more relevant and meaningful to us all.

James Honeyborne

The power of a strong narrative

Who inspires your work?

I am inspired by the scientists who devote their careers to better understanding our natural world. Collaborating with great minds to turn the spotlight on their work is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

What piece of advice would you give to students and alumni, interested in tacking the Climate Emergency?

Don't underestimate the power of a strong narrative. Stories matter: they shape how we think and can become a catalyst for change. Good storytelling can transform our understanding of complex issues like climate change and make them more relevant and meaningful to us all.