Mary-Ann Ochota

Mary-Ann Ochota


About Mary-Ann Ochota

Mary-Ann specialises in presenting anthropology, archaeology and adventure travel, combining a real passion for people and the outdoors with enthusiastic onscreen expertise. She’s a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a GetOutside Champion for the Ordnance Survey.

Mary-Ann has recently presented a major BBC Two series, Britain Afloat, discovering how boats have shaped our lives. She also explored the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone for Animal Planet (Life After: Chernobyl, TX April 2016), joined rainforest researchers hunting for evidence of the officially extinct Tasmanian tiger (Hunting Lazarus, TX May 2016), and trekked 500km on foot across Australia’s Simpson Desert, searching for evidence of lost aboriginal sites. Working with seventeen pack camels who carried all their food and water, the team survived in the desert for 43 days, looking for wells, campsites and artefacts. Mary-Ann filmed the expedition, and an adventure doc Expedition: Desert is now in production.

Her first documentary for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, A Dirty Secret (TX April 2016), explores the impact of life without a decent toilet - a reality for more than 2.3 billion people in the world. Her series for German channel ARD-Alpha, Best of Enemies, will be broadcast in English and German in the run-up to the Brexit referendum in June.

Mary-Ann has reported from India and Thailand for Channel 4’s critically acclaimed foreign affairs programme, Unreported World. She fronted the internationally successful Feral Children (Raised Wild in the US) for Animal Planet, investigating real cases of extraordinary child survival in Fiji, Uganda and Ukraine.

Mary-Ann is a familiar face on archaeology shows on both sides of the Atlantic. She presented a collection of Britain’s Secret Treasures and Britain’s Secret Homes for ITV1, including from under the Atlantic Ocean, on a tiny island in Orkney and in a boat in Canterbury. She featured on the Smithsonian Channel/BBC2 special Stonehenge Empire/Operation Stonehenge and was a regular on History’s hit show Ancient Impossible. Mary-Ann was also co-presenter on the penultimate series of cult archaeology show, Time Team.

Her first book, Britain’s Secret Treasures, was a collaboration with the British Museum, to accompany the ITV series. Her second book, Hidden Histories: A Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape, will be published in October 2016. It explores the intriguing archaeological features you can spot in the British landscape – from prehistoric burial mounds to Norman churches to ancient highways.

Mary-Ann regularly previews the papers for Sky News, has contributed to BBC News and BBC World, and reports for ITN Industry News. She writes regularly for the Telegraph Weekend, and has written for the Sun, Mirror, Independent, Observer, BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and outdoors and adventure magazines including Countryfile, Geographical, The Great Outdoors, Summit and Getaway.

Mary-Ann has an MA in Archaeology & Anthropology from Cambridge University and has completed varied research and field study in the UK and worldwide. She’s a warm and incisive speaker and host for conferences, debates and talks.

Mary-Ann is an experienced cold water UK scuba diver, an enthusiastic horse rider and sailor, and keen hillwalker. She’s sailed across the North Pacific from Qingdao, China, to San Francisco, USA, and across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to St Lucia. This summer she plans to complete the Cuillin Ridge Traverse, a two-day mountaineering journey on the Isle of Skye for the British Mountaineering Council online BMC TV.

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