television documentary director


My Year with the Tribe
"Pity the eager documentary-maker who next pitches an idea to TV bosses about venturing into a jungle to live with a remote tribe…. It’s hard to imagine many people beating My Year with the Tribe for insight, intrigue and, frankly, entertainment value. We don’t often get to see a furious local threatening to kill our BBC presenter with a bow and arrow because he won’t give him £1,200 for a boat. It was a documentary cum reality TV show airing all its dirty laundry…. It was also great television because it was the truth."

The Times - Carol Midgley
I Bought a Rainforest
"BBC2’s utterly brilliant I Bought a Rainforest…should be required viewing for anyone with a serious interest in conserving a jungle that provides a third  of our oxygen...director Gavin Searle, has an eye for religious imagery – and as the conservationist loaded a sawn log on to his back and staggered through the undergrowth, he did indeed resemble Christ on the Via Dolorosa. Charlie had taken up his cross, or his white man’s burden, and at last realised that his ideals might actually cause human misery."

The Independent - Gerald Gilbert
Welcome to Lagos
"In Gavin Searle’s programme, the poor of Lagos are “resourceful, energetic and extremely optimistic”, adjectives that could all equally be applied to his extraordinary new documentary series. Searle sold the dump to us as representing “everything fantastic about the people” of the Nigerian capital and as the ultimate in recycling. His claim seemed fantastical but the lives he followed were inspirational."

Sunday Times
Meet the Natives
"By the time Chief Yapa and co are gleefully frolicking in the snow (which they've never seen before), you'll probably be watching them through a haze of joyful tears. If TV manages to broadcast anything as simultaneously thought-provoking and charming this year, I'll be dumbstruck. And I'll probably have to switch the set off for good. I tune in to start hating, dammit. Stop being so nice."

The Guardian - Charlie Brooker
Fish! A Japanese Obsession
"This is just one of the extraordinary scenes in Fish! A Japanese Obsession (BBC4), Charles RW's journey around Japan to get to the bottom of the country's passion for fish. He meets koi carp worth £50,000 each, and a rock singer who wears a real tuna head on stage (Tuna Turner?). It's all lovely. I was a pushover because I too have a thing about fish, and although I've never been to Japan I've always wanted to. It looks beautiful, of course, and Charles brings a nice dry amusement to it all - not mocking, just sometimes a little surprised (it's a thin line)."

The Guardian - Sam Wollaston
Bobski the Builder - Times
"Gavin Searle’s film watches while British and Polish builders carry out work on two almost identical extensions. Searle, who directed Tribe and Meet the Natives, adopts a jaunty tone that belies an underlying seriousness, and the result is a revealing, bittersweet piece of social anthropology."

The Times
Jungle Hooks
"This is where a good director comes in. I've been lucky to work with a real maestro, Gavin Searle, who didn't know anything about fishing, but who does know what makes a good dramatic story. His secret technique for getting an emotional reaction out of me is to swear a lot, and if that doesn't work resorting to violence."

Jeremy Wade - Jungle Hooks & River Monsters