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Hello and welcome!

Mary-Ann Ochota is a broadcaster and anthropologist who gained her MA from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


I specialise in presenting anthropology, archaeology, social history and outdoor adventure.

For me, it's all about discovering and telling people's stories in the most exciting and compelling way - on TV, radio, podcast, in print and in person. From the heart of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster zone, to conflict zones in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the slums of Dhaka, the backstreets of Swansea, and the high fells of Britain's Lake District.

World Myths, international distribution, (forthcoming)
Walking the Iron Curtain, BBC World Service & BBC Radio 4 (2022)
Happiness and how to get it Audible original podcasts (2020/21)
The Lost Sounds Orchestra, BBC Radio 4 (2021)
Secrets of Our Sites: Stonehenge, English Heritage (2020)
Mystic Britain Smithsonian (Series 1 & 2, 2019-2021)
Tibet: Living on the Roof of the World Discovery/Sky Vision (2021)
Why We Cut Men BBC World Service
Britain Afloat: Boats that made Britain
China: Time of Xi
Discovery Asia-Pacific
Those Who Came Before
CNN Create/Visit Jordan (watch the short)
The Why Factor: Childlessness, Raising Other People's Kids, Surrogacy
BBC World Service
Keep Digging (the deepest hole in the World)
BBC Radio 4

Life After: Chernobyl, Animal Planet

A Dirty Secret, BBC Radio 4

Best of Enemies: What do the British Think of the Germans? ARD-Alpha

Ancient Impossible, H2: History Channel 2

Unreported World, Channel 4

Raised Wild/Feral Children, Discovery Networks

Britain's Secret Treasures, Britain's Secret Homes, ITV1

The Truth Behind: King Arthur, Nat Geo

Time Team, Channel 4

My new-ish book, Secret Britain: Uearthing our mysterious past - is a "Cornucopia of our weirdest and most wonderful archaeological sites and artefacts. They make you feel proud...of these gloriously intriguing isles" Sir Tony Robinson.

I'm currently working on an anthropology book called The Briefest History of Human Life. It's going to be a really accessible exploration of everything that makes us human. From our earliest evolutionary origins to the impacts of modern urban life...where have we come from and where are we headed?

My previous book, Hidden Histories: A Spotter's Guide to the British Landscape is a guide to puzzling out some of the features you might spot in the landscape around you - what are those lumps and bumps in that field? Is this an ancient burial mound? How old is that church? Is this a medieval woodland? For countryside wanderers and armchair wonderers, I hope it'll feed your curiousity as a landscape detective!

Join me at an event -  events in 2023

I'm very proud to be the presenter of the outdoors podcast celebrating diverse people and their experiences and expertise. Check out Finding Our Way. I'm also co-presenter of the Science communication podcast series, This Study Shows, in collaboration with Wiley publishing. Together with my co-host Professor Danielle George, we delve into the world of science and sci comm, bringing you top tips, ideas and debate from across the field. Want to know how to talk to creationists about evolution? How to draw your research as a graphic novel? How to recruit a diverse group of participants into your study? Or give a fantastic 3 min online talk to 6 year olds? We've got you covered. Check out all the episodes - as well as specials on inclusivity and Communicating Covid here.

I've presented radio documentaries for the BBC and the World Service, recently Walking the Iron Curtain, and previously for the regular anthropology series, The Why Factor. I'm a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent and Sky News. I also report for ITN Business and have hosted major hybrid conferences for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) including Achieveing Net Zero and the Diversity and Inclusion conference. I write for the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, and regularly contribute to adventure and outdoors magazines including Trail, Geographical, Summit and Countryfile Magazine. My new column for TGO magazine explores knotty issues like size accessiblity, changing weather and wind farms.

I'm proud to be...

Patron for the Ridgeway National Trail in its 50th Anniversary year 

a 'Loo-minary' for Toilet Twinning - twin your loo with a long-drop somewhere in the world

a Patron of the Tony Trust, who help fund young people to take part in Outdoor Activities Centres

a Hill Walking Ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council - the mountains are for all

a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - understand the complex world we live in

I believe anthropology (the study of people, biologically and socially) can help to challenge the most basic preconceptions we have about ourselves and our own society, shedding new light on what it means to be human, and why we do what we do.  Anthropology in your own 'backyard' can be as eye-opening as research further afield!


Ramblings on BBC Radio 4
I was absolutely delighted to be invited to go for a walk with Clare Balding for the new series of Ramblings.

We went to the Pegsdon Hills, on the Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire border, and did some landscape spotting - Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, medieval strip lynchets, ancient holloways and a lovely trig pillar! What a grand way to spend a day. You can listen on the radio, and then on demand, on Thursday 4th March.
Exploring Stonehenge with English Heritage

Join me for an in-depth tour of the linked sites of Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK.

Why are they linked? How were they used? What's the significance of midwinter? And what do we still not know?!

Watch now! (18mins)

Secret Britain is out!

I've already had some lovely press on Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4, the Daily Telegraph (paywall) and the Guardian (no paywall!) and a podcast with the Royal Geographical Society (29mins, really very good, if I do say so myself)

But what I really care about is whether you lot like it. If you do, tell your friends and family ;-)

Signed copies avaiable now :)
And join me for an online talk!

Season 2, Mystic Britain, Smithsonian Channel

Season 2 sees me and the lovely Clive Anderson on another jaunt round Britain, finding the weirdest and most wonderful British archaeology we can lay our hands on. It's like Horrible Histories for grown ups. This season we explore Maeshowe in Orkney, the Uffington White horse, strange bodies at Sutton Hoo, the fate of the Picts, Tintagel and King Arthur, Warrior Queen Boudicca, Anglesey and the Druids, the Red Lady of Paviland and Tudor medicine.

Catch us on the Smithsonian Channel!

Hidden Histories:

A Spotter's Guide to the British Landscape

Recommended by The Sunday Times, Trail Magazine, The Countryman, Countryfile Magazine, Geographical magazine, Tony Robinson, Steve Backshall, Tom Holland (selected as New Statesman Book of the Year) and Professor Francis Pryor

Buy the book!

Come to an Event!

Britain Afloat

I absolutely loved making this six-part series exploring how boats have shaped our lives across Britain. It was a journey across the country and into the history of punts, coracles, narrow boats, sailing boats, rowing eights and the Thames sailing barge. I got to grips with these pieces of living history, and met the passionate people keeping the traditions alive.

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