Johnny King­dom

(1939-2018)

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild News - Sir John Lis­ter-Kaye

On 6 Septem­ber, Bri­tain lost one of its most re­sound­ing char­ac­ters. Johnny died when his dig­ger tipped over on his na­ture re­serve in De­von. He was 79 years old.

Johnny will be re­mem­bered for his bound­less en­thu­si­asm for the wildlife of Ex­moor, his beloved home habi­tat. His tele­vi­sion pro­grammes were about wildlife, but were mem­o­rable for Johnny him­self. His broad De­von brogue, cam­ou­flage suits and leather cow­boy hat with its bun­dle of pheas­ant feath­ers, made him a screen nat­u­ral.

His love of wildlife was not sci­en­tific, it was pas­sion­ate; hav­ing left school at 15, Johnny’s knowl­edge was hard-won. Gleaned through life-long ex­pe­ri­ence of many coun­try pro­fes­sions: farm worker, forester, grave dig­ger, quar­ry­man – even poacher. He was an old-world coun­try­man, mak­ing it all the more re­mark­able that in his late 60s he was able to rein­vent him­self as a tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter of his own suc­cess­ful show with over three mil­lion view­ers.

Johnny was a gen­tle­man, al­ways cour­te­ous, self-dep­re­cat­ing, pleased to meet new friends – and huge fun. His laugh was mem­o­rable and deeply in­fec­tious. He will be sorely missed.

Johnny King­dom’s knowl­edge of wildlife was gleaned through years of ex­pe­ri­ence.

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