A LECTURER from the University of Cumbria has played a pivotal role in a new Channel 5 documentary series, Secret Life of the Forest.

Cain Scrimgeour, a wildlife media lecturer at the university, was a camera operator for the production, and was approached for his expertise, having been a freelance wildlife filmmaker for several years in addition to his lecturing role.

Being a local resident of Kielder, Cain filmed much of the programme on his doorstep, capturing the wildlife of Kielder Forest and Northumberland and the work of local people there, which he felt had been un-documented until now.

The filming took place last year, during the height of the pandemic, and Cain felt being out in nature was of huge benefit to him during that time.

He said: “It was an interesting experience as most of Kielder was shut with limited staff and no visitors, I almost had the place to myself. Being out in nature was certainly a benefit, and without the distractions of modern-day life.”

Cain is hopeful that the show will encourage more visitors to the area and inspire people about their own local wildlife.

The four-part programme, narrated by Downton Abbey actor, Hugh Bonneville, is set to be a spectacular tribute to Kielder Forest, a haven for wildlife, the best dark skies in England and award-winning art and architecture.

Cain’s cameras capture the various wildlife residing in England’s vastest forest including roe deer, red squirrels, pipistrelle bats, otters, ospreys and more, as the woodland changes over the course of the year.

News and Star: FOREST: Cain shot eye-catching footage for the showFOREST: Cain shot eye-catching footage for the show

As the programme explores Kielder’s ancient settlements, legends, and hunting heritage, time-lapse footage unveils the lyrical beauty of its constant transformation.

Since graduating from the University of Cumbria with a BA (Hons) Wildlife Media degree in 2012, Cain has worked as a freelance camera operator, filmmaker, and guide for a variety of organisations and production companies including BBC, ITV, the Wildlife Trust’s and the RSPB.

He specialises in natural history and time-lapse based content.

Laura Baxter, Wildlife Media Programme Leader, Institute of Arts, University of Cumbria said: “We’re immensely proud of the achievements of all our staff, students and graduates, who are making an important collective contribution to conservation and raising awareness of biodiversity challenges through media.

“Cain is an integral member of our team and a role model to our students and graduates as the next generation of conservationists, media makers and wildlife specialists”.