School of Arts and Media 05.06.20

Lecturer Louise Ready-Syrat swaps Salford for South Africa to film endangered species series

Last year Louise Ready-Syrat swapped her day job as a BA (Hons) Television and Radio Production Lecturer at the University of Salford for three weeks in South Africa working as a Shooting Producer Director for new Channel 4 series Work on the Wild Side.

The twenty-part series which follows vets and volunteers who gave up their day jobs in the UK and moved to South Africa to rescue, rehabilitate and release some of the world’s most endangered animals.

Each hour-long programme transports us to South Africa, where we will see vets and volunteers relocate giraffe, rescue a two week old hippo, become surrogate mums for orphaned monkeys, give mouth to mouth resuscitation to a cheetah and assist in the process of dehorning a rhino - all in a day’s work.

Broadcast every weekday at 4pm, the series captures South Africa’s vibrancy and colour while shining a light on the critical conservation issues affecting these most vulnerable of species.

It’s an emotional rollercoaster as our wildlife heroes let us into their lives and talk about their passion to save animals in danger of extinction, from penguins and sharks in the Western Cape to the ‘Big Five’ in the Northern Plains.

“I was concentrated in the south, near Port Elizabeth and the coast of Ghansbaai, known for its Shark Alley where I filmed giraffes, rhino, lions, cheetah, leopard, springbok, elephant, great white sharks, whales, penguins, and bronze whaler sharks, to name a few,” said Louise.

I’ve worked on lots of television projects before but never with animals – I thought this was my chance. We really head to hit the ground running, even on my first day we were capturing and transporting two giraffe to a new reserve.  It was so interesting working with local crews and sourcing all these amazing stories.”

Since being back Louise has been able to pass on lots of her learnings to University of Salford students who were keen to know more about her experience.

“It is great to be able to be able to share all this industry knowledge with our students,” said Louise. “Shooting on location gives you lots of practical skills – I’m glad I can pass these onto those just starting off their careers.”

Beth Hewitt, Creative Director – Media City Directorate at the University of Salford, adds: “This was such an exciting and challenging opportunity for Louise and exactly the type of industry experience that we encourage staff to take, wherever feasible. Continuing to gain relevant and current industry experience and knowledge is critical to our strategy of industry collaboration and graduate outcomes. As well as industry working with students and graduates, it is vital that our staff are supported in their access to industry opportunities and that industry is able to gain access to staff too.”

This particular opportunity came about because of Louise's industry reputation, connections and high level of abilities and it really is testimony to our team that they have the respect of industry which in turn allows them to work on such prestigious productions for major UK broadcasters. I fully supported Louise on her filming adventure - it is exactly these sorts of industry-based projects, which makes the University of Salford so special. I was delighted that it proved to be a real success.”

Work on Wild Side is broadcast weekdays at 4pm starting on Monday 18 May for 4 weeks.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk or phone 0161 295 2238.