Even in his early teens, Bruce Parry had a sense of adventure and would go to the Lake District, where he would sleep rough, accompanied only by his labrador Polly. After boarding at Wells Cathedral School, in 1988 Bruce Parry became a Royal Marines officer at the age of 18.
Parry served in arctic Norway and was sent to Kurdistan to manage the refugees fleeing Saddam Hussein in the first Iraq war. Back in England, Bruce Parry became the Royal Marines’ youngest ever Physical Training and Sports Officer and he became head, at just 23, of all physical aspects of British Commando Training.
After the Marines, Bruce Parry spent a couple of years at Loughborough University studying PE and sport before leaving early. He also spent a few years working on pop videos and films. He worked his way up from being a runner to become a location manager.
However, it was making expedition and conservation trips that satisfied Bruce Parry most. His trips included, for example, journeys to Borneo, Surinam and Sumatra. He also climbed Mont Blanc.
Bruce Parry made his television breakthrough with Cannibals and Crampons, where he and cavalry officer Mark Anstice climbed a remote peak in Papua New Guinea and spent three months kayaking through swamp and trekking through jungles to get to the mountain. Parry and Anstice found uncontacted peoples during the expedition.
Cannibals and Crampons was bought by the BBC and became part of the BBC One series Extreme Lives, and won various awards. More documentaries followed, including on Children’s BBC (CBBC), Serious Desert and Serious Jungle.
Serious Jungle won an RTS and Serious Desert won a BAFTA award.
In 2004, BBC Wales were commissioned to make a series for BBC 2 about indigenous peoples around the world. This series, presented by Bruce Parry, became known as Tribe, a huge popular and critical hit, and further series of Tribe followed.
“I could be accused of being a wannabe tribesman, of wanting to be a tribal dude, but that is not how I see it. I see it as me doing what they wanted me to do, showing them respect and hanging out with them. And they loved it …”
As well as presenting the BBC’s Tribe, Bruce Parry went on a three month trek over Greenland following in the footsteps of Captain Scott in 1911 in BBC2’s Blizzard: Race to the Pole.
In 2010, the BBC revealed that Bruce Parry was to return to BBC Two in a five-part series Arctic, in which he engages with the indigenous people of the region.
Bruce is an inspiring speaker and is passionate about the environment and the need for more ethical forms of development and business. With first hand experience of living amongst indigenous tribes he has seen the ecological damage caused by modern man and is at the forefront of exploration into indigenous tribes. The invaluable lessons he has learnt of living within these communities have based his current passion of talking on environmental issues and he is inspiring audiences around the world; his presentations include gripping footage and challenging arguments which can help business better prepare itself for the ethical demands that our planet needs.
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