TV wildlife presenter, author, zoologist and public speaker
Lucy Cooke is an award-winning TV presenter and producer, best-selling author and TED talker with a Masters in zoology from New College Oxford, where she studied evolution and animal behaviour under Richard Dawkins. She is a passionate conservationist and a champion of species that are often misunderstood. Her style is immersive and insightful yet unashamedly populist: mixing extraordinary story-telling with a dash of humour to reach the widest possible audience.
Most recently Lucy has joined the Springwatch team on BBC Two, co-hosting the live broadcast from Sherbourne in 2018. Her quick wit and far-reaching knowledge have also seen her pitted against Chris Packham as his opposing team captain on the BBC Two, natural history quiz show Curious Creatures, now in its second series.
Lucy began her presenting career hosting Freaks and Creeps (National Geographic), a series based on her passion to highlight the weird and wonderful lives of the less attractive animal species that often get over-looked in favour of charismatic megafauna. Since then Lucy has presented a number of primetime series for BBC One (Nature’s Boldest Thieves, Animals Unexpected, Nature’s Miracle Orphans and Ingenious Animals), The Beach live (BBC4) ITV (Amazing Animal Births) and Channel 4 (Easter Eggs Live).
Lucy spent the first half of her broadcast career as a writer/producer/director of primetime television documentary series for PBS, BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery, which took her to the furthest corners of the planet to film remote people and places. She drank honey wine with the fiercest tribe in East Africa, politely ate dog with the opium growing mountain people of Laos, hung out with cave-dwelling Kurdish activists in Turkey and met a fearsome jaguar hunter in Brazil. Outside of TV Lucy has commissioned WEBBY award-winning online shorts during a stint as Head of UK content for VICE and Sundance award-winning feature length films whilst at BRITDOC. Her work as a writer/producer on Meet the Sloths, won a prestigious Panda Award at Wildscreen and spawned a major 13 part series for Animal Planet, which has sold to over 20 countries worldwide.
As a result of the viral success of Meet the Sloths, Lucy founded the Sloth Appreciation Society, which now has over 10,000 members worldwide. Lucy has produced two books of her sloth photographs: A Little Book of Sloth was a NY Times best-seller and her latest, Life in the Sloth Lane, mixes mindfulness tips with Lucy’s adorable photos of Nature’s masters of mellow taking it very easy indeed.
Lucy loves radio and hosts the occasional ‘The Power of …’ documentary strand for Radio 4, based on her own original concept. The Power of Sloth and The Power of Cute aired in 2016/17 and there are more in the pipeline for 2019. Lucy’s knowledge and humour have made her a regular guest on The Infinite Monkey Cage (Radio 4), and The Museum of Curiosity (Radio 4). She has also guested on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, Midweek, Cerys Matthews (Radio 6) and in the US, RadioLab, Weekend Edition and Big Picture Science (NPR), The Big Think and Live Science.
Lucy's first adult book, The Unexpected Truth About Animals, was the subject of a ten-publisher bidding war and published by Black Swan in October 2017 to rave reviews: "[A] deeply researched, sassily written history of 'the biggest misconceptions, mistakes and myths we've concocted about the animal kingdom,' spread by figures from Aristotle to Walt Disney" (Nature), “a joy from beginning to end” (The Guardian) and “endlessly fascinating” (Bill Bryson). The book was published by Basic Books in the States in 2018 under the title The Truth About Animals and has been translated into 14 languages to date. It has been shortlisted for two prestigious awards: The Royal Society science book prize 2018 (UK) and the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize 2018 (US).
Having explored the far reaches of over 70 countries, Lucy is an enthusiastic adventurer and award-winning travel writer and blogger. Lucy’s Amphibian Avenger blog saw her set off an a 6 month solo adventure around South America to investigate the plight of the world’s amphibians and won her an Emerging Explorer Award at National Geographic. Lucy has also written for the Wall Street Journal (US), Atlantic magazine (US), New York Times (US), Sunday Times magazine (UK), Telegraph (UK) and Daily Mail (UK).
Lucy is happiest on a stage, entertaining a crowd with tales of her adventures. Lucy has been chosen to be one of the speakers at the influential TED Women conference in 2018. She’s a regular at Brian Cox and Robin Ince’s Christmas Compendium of Reason playing to an audience of 3000 at the Hammersmith Apollo. Lucy has also given her trademark humorous lectures at Glastonbury, Port Eliot, Wilderness, and Hay on Wye festivals as well as various corporate and third sector institutions.