Zoology graduate Charlie Bingham initially found it hard to apply himself academically, but hard work and staff support resulted in a degree that has led to his dream job as a producer and director.
BSc (Hons) Zoology
|Year of Graduation||
Your time at the University
I originally had a place at Oxford to read biological sciences but did not achieve my grades so essentially defaulted to attending Imperial College where I stayed for approximately 9 months. For various reasons I wasn’t enjoying both the course and the social life in London. Most people seemed to come and go, treating the University more like a 6th form college. I had visited friends in Edinburgh and was really taken with it so applied to leave and join in my second year via direct entry based on my A-level results.
This scary decision at the time was one of the best I have ever made. The course was superb, the sense of community intoxicating, and the circle of friends I made were inspiring and enduring.
I didn’t have an easy journey through university, finding it incredibly hard to apply myself academically until relatively late on but the support and encouragement I had from various members of staff was amazing. My fourth year was doubtless my favourite. I attended everything and applied myself diligently while still socialising and having fun. Most importantly, this application reflected very favourably in the results.
One of the most enjoyable academic experiences came through failing a zoology course and taking a social sciences course to make up the points. It fired a different part of my brain, attracted a different crowd of people and I really, really enjoyed it.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
I graduated in the summer of 2007 and started work shortly after with the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, which has been my dream since the age of 7. Initially this was on a very short-term basis, running or camera assisting until the contracts became slightly longer. I was a PA to the now head of the unit and through her got my first ‘break’ editorially, as a researcher on the first series of the children’s wildlife series, Deadly 60.
Two years later I was directing my first sequences and both series one and two would go on to win BAFTAs. I then decided to make a move into the indies, joining Icon Films where I would stay for four years, working on films for National Geographic, Discovery, BBC and Animal Planet – directing on the ONE Show and six episodes of ‘River Monsters.’ At this point I had acquired camera skills and had been filming in over a dozen countries across five continents. More recently, I made a move to London doing a lot of development work in a bid to gain commissions. I directed three hours for ITV with Julian Clary called Nature Nuts and current am series director at ITV on a new six part series with Steve Backshall called Fierce.
Try your very best to be organised, it will help enormously. Most people will wish that they applied themselves more. I am no different. You will (probably) be no different. Take advantage of extracurricular activities and course. I truly regret not learning languages, sports, skills that were readily available and free or very reasonable.
Surround yourself with positive people.
One of the most enjoyable academic experiences came through failing a zoology course and taking a social sciences course to make up the points. It fired a different part of my brain, attracted a different crowd of people and I really, really enjoyed it. To this day, I still read about the history of medicine and science in society as a result.
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