David Cobham

Michael David Cobham (11 May 1930 – 25 March 2018) was a British film and TV producer and director, best known for the film Tarka the Otter. He was also a first-class cricketer.

David Cobham
Personal information
Full nameMichael David Cobham
Born11 May 1930
Boynton, Yorkshire, England
Died5 March 2018(2018-03-05) (aged 87)
Dereham, Norfolk, England
Height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
BowlingRight-arm fast-medium
Domestic team information
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 1
Runs scored 0
Batting average 0.00
100s/50s –/–
Top score 0
Balls bowled 102
Wickets 2
Bowling average 27.00
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling 2/21
Catches/stumpings –/–
Source: Cricinfo, 7 February 2019

Cricket career

Cobham was educated at Stowe School, where he played for the school cricket team, before going up to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge to read natural sciences.[1] He played minor counties cricket for Berkshire in the 1948 Minor Counties Championship, making five appearances.[2] He later made an appearance in first-class cricket for the Free Foresters against Cambridge University at Fenner's in 1953.[3] He bowled ten wicket-less overs in Cambridge University's first-innings, before taking the wickets of Mike Bushby and Dennis Silk in their second-innings to finish with figures of 2 for 21 from seven overs.[4] He failed to score while batting, being dismissed in the Free Foresters' first-innings by Myles Arkell and Raman Subba Row in their second-innings.[4]

Filmmaking career

Cobham directed the BBC's first wildlife film Vanishing Hedgerows in 1972. He also directed and produced the children's TV series Bernard's Watch, Brendon Chase, The Secret World of Polly Flint, Out of Sight, Woof! and the wildlife-orientated Seal Morning (1986). His wildlife films include The Goshawk (1968),[5] and To Build a Fire (1969), narrated by Orson Welles. He also directed a BBC series about Japan, In the Shadow of Fujisan (BBC One 1987 and BBC Four 2009).[6] Other projects included One Pair of Eyes (1970) about the sculptor John Skeaping, Survival in Limbo (1976)[7] starring Duncan Carse, and he was also the director/producer for BP's film of Donald Campbell's Land Speed Record attempt at Utah in 1960.


Cobham's first book, A Sparrowhawk's Lament: How British Breeding Birds of Prey Are Faring, was published in 2014; his next book, Bowland Beth: The Life of an English Hen Harrier, a study of the persecution of the hen harrier on the grouse moors of the Forest of Bowland, was published in 2017.[8]


Cobham died of a stroke on 25 March 2018 at the age of 87.[9][10] He is survived by his wife Liza Goddard, ex-president of the Hawk and Owl Trust, of which he was vice-president.[11]


  1. Moss, Stephen (2018-03-27). "David Cobham obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  2. "Minor Counties Championship Matches played by David Cobham". CricketArchive. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  3. "First-Class Matches played by David Cobham". CricketArchive. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  4. "Cambridge University v Free Foresters, 1953". CricketArchive. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  5. "The Goshawk (1968)". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  6. "BBC Four - In the Shadow of Fujisan, Long Live the Turtle". BBC. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  7. David Cobham (18 November 2013). "Survival in Limbo - Complete Film". YouTube. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  8. East, Ben (13 August 2017). "Bowland Beth: The Life of an English Hen Harrier review – a clarion call for wild birds". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  9. "Tribute to Tarka director and wildlife filmmaker David Cobham from Chris Packham". The Irish News.
  10. "Tarka the Otter director dies aged 87". Bbc.com. 26 March 2018.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2012-01-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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