Click for Bookshop

Douglas (Doug) Allan


1951 -

Wildlife cameraman and photographer. One of twin brothers born to a jobbing photographer in Dunfermline, Allan was educated at the University of Stirling, graduating with a degree in marine biology in 1973. A keen amateur diver, his first job was with Bill Abernethy, the last commercial pearl diver in Scotland. He went on to work as a diver in the Red Sea and then ran a dive school, before being offered a position with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), in 1976, as a research diver. He supported the scientists and his filming and still photographs gained great acclaim. He was awarded both the Fuchs Medal and Polar Medal for his work with BAS.

The BBC bought some of Allan's film in the mid-1980s and this enthused him to make two documentaries for Anglia Television's Survival series. He has gone on to contribute to the BBC's landmark natural history series The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Life in the Freezer, capturing events of never seen on film before including orcas attacking gray whales, polar bears trying to capture beluga whales, leopard seals snatching emperor penguins, eider ducks feeding on mussels beneath the sea ice of Hudson Bay and a time lapse sequence of starfish activity under the ice of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. He has also worked with the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Society.

Allan was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Stirling (2007), Edinburgh Napier University (2009) and University of St Andrews (2010), in recognition of his contribution to wildlife and polar photography. His awards including three Emmys, three BAFTAs, BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the Cherry Kearton Medal by the Royal Geography Society. He featured on BBC Radio Four's Desert Island Discs in 2014.


Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow


By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better