Johnny’s Alaskan adventure

Johnny Kingdom, bears and all during a one hour BBC Four special this February.

THE ‘wild man of Exmoor’ Johnny Kingdom returns to the nation’s television screens this February when he heads off to Alaska in search of bears.

The one-hour special for BBC Four by Available Light Productions followed Johnny on his trip of a lifetime last summer, visiting Kodiak Island and the Katmai National Park to film the large brown bears as they fished for salmon.

Johnny Kingdom and the Bears of Alaska is the culmination of a lifelong ambition for the amateur wildlife filmmaker – best known for his BBC Two series Johnny Kingdom A Year on Exmoor.

Johnny recalls as a youngster catching salmon from Exmoor rivers with his bare hands, but he had always wanted to see how ‘the real experts do it’ in the wilds and was thrilled when the BBC agreed to fund the trip.

Along with a small crew from Available Light, Johnny’s wife Julie was also able to join him.

It is also the biggest challenge he has faced as an amateur cameraman and in characteristic style, viewers will see Johnny struggling to keep a camera still without a tripod - and because his hands are shaking so much faced with a ‘hooge’ bear less than 30 metres away.

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The Alaska weather also proved a challenge, with fog grounding flights to remote areas. Fortunately Johnny was able to instead catch a boat to Kodiak Island – and finally gets his shots of bears catching salmon.

Johnny Kingdom and the Bears of Alaska is due to be aired in mid-February on BBC Four, with a final transmission date yet to be set.

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