Doug Allan - It's A Wrap
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Doug Allan is a freelance wildlife and documentary cameraman who films both topside and underwater. His equipment includes RED Weapon 4K , Sony PMW 200 camera and Canon stills cameras with housings and various lenses for all of them.

Born in 1951 in Scotland, he graduated with an honours degree in marine biology from Stirling University in 1973. On completion of his degree, he decided that science at the sharp end wasn’t quite where he sought to be. Underwater anywhere became the drive and for the next three years he worked on a wide range of diving jobs. He searched for (and found) freshwater pearls in the rivers of Scotland. Commercial diving in Germany involved underwater video work and rebuilding canals. Twice he assisted with research on marine biological expeditions with Cambridge University in the Red Sea. And in the summer 1975 he ran the Bouley Bay Underwater Centre in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

British Antarctic Survey

But the big break was in 1976 when he first went to the Antarctic to work as a research diver on the British Antarctic Survey station at Signy Island in the South Orkneys. The job entailed helping the scientists to carry out their underwater studies, from boats in the summer, beneath the ice in the winter. It was the start of an affair with ice that lasts to this day.

Over the next ten years until 1985, Doug and B.A.S. had a great relationship – he spent four winters and nine summers “down south” in that time, and was awarded the Fuchs Medal, then the Polar Medal, for his work. He did three winters at Signy as diver, and one at Halley Station down at 75° S as Base Commander. Halley was no place for a biologist – but it offered a chance to winter with Emperor Penguins, and a first opportunity for Doug to turn over with a movie camera rather than just stills.


The BBC took first option on buying that Emperor footage for their forthcoming series Birds for All Seasons, and Doug’s career took a new direction. Using his experience of ice diving, and intimate knowledge of Signy through its winters, he proposed two films to Survival Anglia then in 1987 spent ten months in the Antarctic making them.

Filming Since Then

Since then, he has returned frequently to both the poles, with a string of high profile award winning films and series for the major TV networks worldwide. In contributing to The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet, Frozen Planet, Expedition Iceberg, Forces of Nature and many other programmes he has made over 100 filming trips, including orcas attacking gray whales off California, polar bears trying to capture belugas in a frozen hole in Arctic Canada, and killer whales washing seals off ice floes in Antarctica – all on screen firsts.


But he likes the challenge of filming people as well as animals, and has done documentary synch shooting for many programmes, including assignments with Discovery along the length of the Andes, to the deserts of Africa and to the upper reaches of Mount Everest.

In 2011 he filmed and was a presenter for the BBC series Ocean Giants about whales worldwide. In 2012 he was one of the presenters on Operation Iceberg, as well as filming many of the sequences in this award winning series. In Wildlife Cameramen at Work from BBC Scotland in 2012, Doug was one of the featured cameramen.

Radio and Writing

Doug has also contributed to numerous radio shows. His audio diary recordings while he made his “Wildlife Special – Polar Bear” became an acclaimed radio programme in their own right. He has contributed to Radio 4's Fragile Planet, Penguin Post Office. and Natural Histories. Over the years, he’s also written numerous articles about wildlife and his experiences, and two commissioned children’s books. In February 2012 he published his own book Freeze Frame, a collection of polar pictures and experiences. It's available through this website.

Doug lives in Bristol and through his company Tartan Dragon Ltd, he films for broadcast and for his stock library.

Illustrated Lectures

Doug is an award winning stills photographer as well as being a film maker. He's been giving talks for many years on wildlife, diving, his experiences while film making, the craft of nature photography and the issues that the natural world is currently facing. The talks below give you an idea of the scope of his presentations, though he's happy to customise these so they're suitable for any audience of any age. All are lavishly illustrated with slides that he's taken during his travels. Each talk normally lasts 1 hour to 90 minutes, fees are negotiable.

Doug’s agent for talks is Haley Miles at Jo Sarsby Management, 0117 927 9423 or email

An Eye below Zero

Doug takes his audience to the two frozen polar worlds - the Arctic and the Antarctic. Glorious pictures of the wildlife, polar bears, penguins and all the seals, the scenery and the people, with insights into how Doug prepares and copes with the short term of a six week film shoot at minus 30°C in search of polar bears. And quite different thoughts on survival of another kind during his two and a half year stint as a biologist on a British Antarctic Survey's scientific research station. What’s happening with climate change and how is that affecting the polar regions?

Underwater Camera

Experience life on a coral reef in the Red Sea and Indonesia, under the ice with seals in Canada, and looking or belugas and narwhal with the Inuit at the ice edge. Nose to nose with mating Right Whales in Patagonia gives you a chance to rewarm before heading to Antarctica to discover the remarkable rich undersea life there. The show features behind the scenes stories and sequences from many of the best know BBC wildlife series.

Wild Images

Adventures, encounters and insights from the cameraman whose TV credits include Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet, Ocean Giants and Frozen Planet.In this show Doug takes you up close and personal with the animals that live in the wildest places on earth. Stories and pictures that will appeal to all ages.

In the Company of Giants

Doug has filmed whales from Antarctica, through the tropics, to under the Arctic pack ice in the far north. The keys to successfully filming them are thorough research, skilled boat handlers, a special patience, and even a healthy dose of luck. Doug describes his most memorable moments in the company of giants.



  • RED Weapon with all accessories
  • Various Canon zoom lenses ranging from 8mm - 400mm
  • Gates Underwater Housing for RED Epic
  • 4k kit is available for rental - please contact Doug for details or Dave Blackham at Esprit Film & Television


  • Sony PMW 200 camera
  • Gates Underwater Housing for PMW 200with Fathom w/a lens and HD monitor
  • HDV Kit is available for rental – please contact Doug or Dave Blackham for details
  • Sachtler and Ronford Baker tripods, baby, medium and tall legs
  • 2 x Filming blinds

Digital Stills

  • Canon 5D2
  • Canon 1Ds
  • Canon 14mm
  • Canon 17-40mm
  • Canon 24-105mm
  • Canon 100-400mm stabilised
  • Canon x 2 teleconverter
  • Digital Time Lapse
  • Seacam housing and wideangle dome for Canon 1Ds and Seacam Strobe

Stock Photography

Skills and Qualifications

  • 4k filming with RED Epic cameras
  • SSI Platinum Pro Diver Certification
  • U.K. Health and Safety Executive Class 4 SCUBA Diver
  • U.K.H.S.E. Registered Diving Contractor
  • BBC Approved Diving Contractor
  • Blue screen underwater
  • In date Diving Medical and First Aid Training
  • Excess of 8000 hours underwater, including 500+ hours under ice
  • Experienced handling small boats and inflatables
  • Experienced climber on snow and ice, including rope and rescue techniques
  • Reasonable French and Spanish
  • Full clean UK Driving Licence

Filmography and Awards

Principal Productions Doug's filmed on since 2005:


  • Hostile Planet (Nat Geo)
  • Blue Peter (BBC)
  • The One Show (BBC)
  • Zoopla commercials
  • Cadbury commercials


  • The Missing Fish (Living Oceans Foundation)
  • Islands in Time (Nat Geo)
  • Paleolithic Orkney (BBC)


  • Forces of Nature (Brian Cox) BBC
  • Monty Halls Shark Hunt Discovery
  • Mission Chagos Living Oceans Fouundation


  • Shark Alley Living Oceans Foundation
  • Operation Polynesia Living Oceans Foundation


  • Midnight Sun Brando Quilici Feature Films
  • Operation Galapagos Living Oceans Foundation


  • Operation Iceberg BBC / Discovery
  • Wild Cameramen at Work BBC Scotland
  • Nurofen Commercial


  • Frozen Planet BBC / Discovery
  • Ocean Giants BBC / WNET


  • Human Planet BBC / Discovery


  • Life BBC / Discovery
  • Charlie Bird in the Arctic RTE


  • 24/7 UAE Corporate
  • Gordon Ramsay’s F Word C4


  • Everest Extreme Discovery Channel


  • Planet Earth BBC / Discovery
  • Steve Leonard’s Incredible Animal Journeys BBC


  • Boy Among Polar Bears BBC

Principal Camerawork Awards

  • BAFTA 2017 Outstanding Contribution to Cinematography Craft
  • BAFTA 2011 Cinematography Human Planet: Arctic
  • BAFTA 2002 Cinematography Blue Planet
  • BAFTA 1997 Cinematography Polar Bear Special
  • BAFTA 1993 Cinematography Life in the Freezer
  • Emmy Cinematography 2010 Life
  • Emmy Cinematography 2007 Planet Earth
  • Emmy Cinematography 2001 Blue Planet
  • Emmy Cinematography 1995 White Shark Special
  • Wildscreen Cinematography Panda 2006 Planet Earth
  • Wildscreen Best of Festival Panda 2002 Blue Planet
  • Wildscreen Conservation Panda 1998 People of the Sea
  • Wildscreen Best Series Panda 1994 Life in the Freezer
  • Missoula Best Photography 2007 Planet Earth
  • Missoula Best Photography 2005 A Boy Among Polar Bears
  • Missoula Best Underwater Photography 2003 Killer Whale Special
  • Missoula Best Underwater Photography 2002 Blue Planet
  • Jackson Hole Best Cinematography 2011 Life
  • Jackson Hole Best Cinematography 2007 Planet Earth
  • Jackson Hole Best of Festival 1997 People of the Sea

    Stills Photography

  • BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1986 Runner Up Bird Behaviour
  • Royal Geographical Society Cherry Kearton Photography Medal 1993
  • BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1996 Winner Underwater
  • BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2002 Winner Underwater


  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Stirling 2007
  • Fellow of Explorers Club, based in New York 2010
  • Honorary Doctorate, Edinburgh Napier University 2009
  • Honorary Professorship University of Stirling Dept of Aquaculture 2010
  • Honorary Doctorate D.Sc. from St Andrews University 2010
  • Honorory Fellow University of Falmouth 2012
  • Honorary Fellow Royal Photographic Society 2012
  • Honorary Fellow Royal Scottish Geographical Society 2013