One of the coolest new additions to Disney+ Day was the new National Geographic series “Epic Adventures With Bertie Gregory.” The 29-year-old filmmaker and adventurer brings a refreshing take to the nature show genre. We had the chance to talk with him at D23 Expo about the show and his adventures.
“Epic Adventures With Bertie Gregory”
What Makes an Epic Adventure
“So there’s a few different factors. We need something that is a giant, amazing wildlife spectacle; that’s important,” Gregory explained. “There needs to be, obviously, a great story into finding those animals, you know, great adventure. So it needs to be epic and adventurous, obviously, as the name suggests, but also, there needs to be a really powerful environmental message. Because I think that’s really important to include the, you know, the reality that our natural world is in big trouble.” Gregory’s unique focus on real-world problems and environmental concerns brings a new perspective that’s both relatable and inspiring.
The Beauty of Nature
While conservation efforts are a frequent theme, there’s no doom and gloom in these epic adventures. “We also try and focus on the good news as well. So there are lots of great examples in nature, where people are doing great stuff to help reverse those declines,” Gregory told us. “I mean, a great example is in the fin whale episode, episode one all about the whales in Antarctica. And that is just a great good news conservation success story. It’s one of the only places I’ve been in my career where I filmed a wildlife spectacle that is bigger and better than it ever has been in my lifetime. And that’s, that’s pretty exciting.”
Gregory provides a realistic look during his adventures; however, the show still has the excitement factor that’s frequently missing in similar outfits. “So what we wanted to do was get people really, really excited about the natural world,” Gregory said. “And yeah, I guess, make them aware of some of the challenges the natural world faces. And then yeah, well, I guess that that’s it? Yeah. Yeah. Getting people excited about the natural world made them aware of some of the challenges and what we can do to solve those problems. And if we come away with the view as having felt that, then that’s us doing our job?”
An Early Appreciation For Wildlife
Bertie Gregory realized at a young age that his passion for wildlife was something he wanted to share. “Ever since I was really tiny, my mom and dad and my three brothers, they were all obsessed with water sports. So from a really early age, I was always thrown in the sea,” Gregory explained. “And I think when you spend that amount of time in the sea, you gain an appreciation for wildlife. And when I was a teenager, I realized if I took pictures of the animals that I was really obsessed with finding, that was a great way to channel that obsession. But it was also a great way to get other people excited about what I was excited about. And that’s basically what I do now as a job is to try and get people excited about what I’m excited about. So yeah, that was how it started.”
Expect the Unexpected
Any epic adventure undoubtedly includes some unexpected moments, and Bertie Gregory’s experiences are anything but ordinary. So what kinds of scary adventures has he had? “Scary is interesting because I think excitement and scary kind of blur into one. So we certainly had some very exciting encounters on Epic Adventures. Coming face to face with a big leopard seal and Antarctica was pretty intimidating. That was like diving with a dragon,” Gregory told us. “She was lovely and friendly and very confident and liked to put my camera and various parts of my body in her mouth, which was interesting. Fortunately, she wasn’t trying to eat me. She was just trying to figure out what I was because she’d never seen a human in her life.”
Nature Up Close
Nature up close and personal can be especially tense when you’re trapped among prey. “There was another encounter, which was a bit more scary. We’re filming for the dolphin episode. And when you’re searching the open ocean for dolphins, birds, your friends, you follow birds because they indicate the dolphins are underneath,” Gregory explained. “We saw some birds on the horizon. So we went over to check it out. And I’ve got my dive gear on my jumped in and underwater, there was a ball of fish of mackerel there maybe six, seven inches long. And it was probably the size of a car, this ball, and it was a ball a fish just turning in on itself really dense. And all these tuna and dolphins were just flying into this ball trying to eat them. And that ball of fish suddenly decided that I was their best defense. So it came over to me, and I was kind of absorbed into this ball. And they were trying to get up my swim shorts and in the camera and everything went black. And I remember I can hear the sound of the tuner still hitting the ball of fish that I was I was in, so yeah, we decided to get out completely.”
Bucket List Experiences
With so many experiences, we had to ask what’s left on Bertie Gregory’s bucket list. “There are a lot of places on my bucket list,” Gregory laughed. “We’re actually working on season two of epic adventures right now. I’m heading on Monday to the next episode, the fourth episode we’ve done three so far. And yes, I’ll get in trouble if I tell you what they are, but some of them are on an episode on season two.”