Obituary – Richard Matthews


For over 30 years Richard Matthews worked at the pinnacle of natural history filmmaking. Beginning in 1979 with the world-renowned BBC Natural History Unit, on series such as Wildlife on One, The Natural World, and David Attenborough’s The Living Planet, he went on to establish himself as a successful independent documentary filmmaker with a reputation for outstanding excellence. His talents and abilities were prodigious. Richard was not just a highly competent producer and director, but also a cameraman with an exceptionally good eye. His films have received five Emmy awards and a BAFTA.

Central to Richard’s success was the high standard of excellence that he set for himself and his colleagues. Always looking to improve the genre in which he worked he pushed everyone, including himself, to better their work. He was particularly adept at thinking technical solutions to creative challenges. So, when filming in the Serengeti in the 1980s, he designed and built the car door balcony bracket which is now essential to African wildlife filmmaking. And to help improve his great love of aerial filming he designed and built an exquisitely stabilised gyro-camera mount for use in light aircraft or helicopters.

Richard’s credits include Living Planet: Seas of Grass; Emas – High Plains of Brazil; The Secret Leopard; Queen of the Beasts; Crater of the Rain God; Kimberley – Land of the Wandjina; Nightmares of Nature; Wild Indonesia; Snake Hunter; King Cobra; Benguela and the Burning Shore; Namib; Golden Seals of the Skeleton Coast; Lake of the Flies; Flying Hooves Fleeting Shadows; Spunky Monkey; Death Squeeze; Big Cat Diary; Flying with Condors; Jessica the Hippo; Search for the Coast Wolf; Running with Wolves; the BBC feature film The Meerkats; The Great Rift; Amazon with Bruce Parry; National Geographic’s Great Migrations; the recent BBC series Africa; Strandwolf; and A Wild Dog’s Tale.

Richard is survived by his wife Samantha and their two children, Nathan and Isabella, who were his North Star and whose love and support he cherished.

Samantha, Nathan and Isabella
Joe Kennedy and Katharina Pechel – Table Mountain Films
Rob Cowling and Kate Whitehorn – Wild Images TV


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