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Elizabeth Bonnin (born 16 September 1976) is a French[1] science, wildlife and natural history presenter, who has worked on television in both Ireland and the United Kingdom.[2][3][4] She presented morning show RI:SE and music show Top of the Pops in the early 2000s.

Liz Bonnin
Bonnin in June 2018
Elizabeth Bonnin

(1976-09-16) 16 September 1976 (age 46)[1]
Paris, France
EducationTrinity College Dublin (BA)
Royal Veterinary College (MSc)
OccupationTelevision presenter
Years active1999–present
Musical career
OriginParis, France

She is best known for presenting wildlife and science programmes including Galapagos, How the Earth Works, Animals in Love, Stargazing Live, Blue Planet Live, Cats v Dogs: Which is Best? and Should We Close Our Zoos?.[4] She co-presented the BBC factual series Bang Goes the Theory from 2009 until 2014 and since 2013, has co-presented Countrywise for ITV. In 2019, she presented "Meat: A Threat to our Planet?" She is regarded as one of the most prominent natural world presenters in Britain.[5]

Early life and education

Bonnin was born in Paris to a Trinidadian mother, of Indian and Portuguese descent, and a French-Martiniquan father, who was a dentist.[3][6] Her family moved to Ireland when she was nine years old.[2][3]

Bonnin has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin,[2][7] She also holds a master's degree in wild animal biology and conservation from the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College (2008), for which she tracked tigers in Nepal.[8][9] She continues to work on big cat conservation programmes at the Zoological Society of London.[citation needed]


Bonnin began her career singing backing vocals with The Pale before joining an Irish girl pop group named Chill, who signed to Polydor but broke up before recording.[10][11] The band had performed on Dustin the Turkey's third album Faith of Our Feathers, duetting on "We Are Family".[12] She was offered a job hosting the IRMA Awards which led to presenting roles on RTÉ Television in Ireland, on The Den, Telly Bingo, Millennium Eve: Celebrate 2000 and for two years, Off the Rails with Fiona McShane.[2] At the time she was in a relationship with the publisher John Ryan.[13][14] In 2002, she moved to London to present on a number of TV channels.[15]

In 2002, she became one of the presenters of the Channel 4 morning show RI:SE, specialising in reporting on entertainment-related stories.[16] In the same year she became a regular presenter on Top of the Pops in the UK.[17]

In 2004, Bonnin was locked in a giant kennel along with MPs Paul Burstow, Evan Harris and Ivan Henderson and actress Liza Goddard, BBC Newsround presenter Lizzie Greenwood and DJ Becky Jago in a stunt to launch the annual RSPCA Week to raise awareness and funds.[18]

Since 2005, Bonnin has been involved in science broadcasting. She presented the show Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets in 2005[19] and co-presented the BBC science series Bang Goes the Theory on BBC One from 2009 until 2014.[20] In 2008, Bonnin presented a documentary series Science Friction on RTÉ One which looked at taboos in discussions of scientific topics (such as paedophilia and nuclear power) in Ireland.[2][21] She also contributed to BBC Two's series on the work of the London Natural History Museum, Museum of Life.[22]

In October 2010, she joined the cast of Autumnwatch and in January 2011, she presented segments of BBC Two's Stargazing Live from various areas of Hawaii including atop Mauna Kea.[23] In May 2011, she co-presented BBC One's Egypt's Lost Cities.[24]

Her programme on animal intelligence, Super Smart Animals, was filmed in mid-2011 in Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Australia and Germany, and broadcast in February 2012.[25] Bonin has presented several Horizon specials on BBC Two which have covered topics ranging from looking at the future of technology to reporting on the sustainability of zoos.[26][27]

In June 2013 she presented the two-part documentary Operation Snow Tiger, working alongside Russian and other scientists in the Ussuriysk Reserve in the Russian Far East.[2][28] Since 2013 Bonnin has been a presenter of the ITV series Countrywise, alongside Paul Heiney and Ben Fogle. In November 2013 she presented Animal Odd Couples on BBC One. She was a co-presenter along with Martin Pepper on the series How the Earth Works that aired on the Discovery Channel in the USA starting on 10 September 2013.

In October 2014 she presented a three-part Horizon series looking into the life of cats. In February 2015 she presented a two-part documentary series called Animals in Love on BBC One, looking at the emotional lives of animals including elephants, monkeys, geese and alligators.[29]

In August 2015, alongside Matt Baker and Steve Backshall, she co-hosted a series of three programmes for BBC One, Big Blue Live, featuring marine life in Monterey Bay, California. Early 2016 saw Bonnin return to Stargazing Live, where she reported from the European Space Agency's astronaut training centre. She also co-presented the BBC Two series Cats v Dogs: Which is Best? with Chris Packham.

Starting on 30 March 2017, Bonnin presented a new BBC One series called Galapagos exploring the species found on the islands and in the seas around. In July 2017, she co-presented Wild Alaska Live with Matt Baker and Steve Backshall on BBC One. In 2018, Bonnin presented a one-off documentary for BBC One called Drowning In Plastic, looking at the problem of marine plastic pollution.[30] In 2020 she presented a programme looking at different species of Penguins titled Penguins: Meet the Family.

Personal life

Bonnin grew up with her older sister Benni, while she said that "I was extremely close to my granny, who passed away in 2003."[citation needed] She has moved back to London.[citation needed] Bonnin featured on the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? on 8 December 2016. In the programme she traced the ancestry of both her parents on the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Martinique.[31]

Bonnin is a role model for EDF Energy's Pretty Curious programme, which is aimed at encouraging teenage girls to study science-based subjects at school.[32] She has said in a 2016 interview, "FHM offered me a spread but I said no."[1]

On 5 January 2021, Bonnin announced that her mother Bonnie Murray had died over the Christmas 2020 period after contracting COVID-19.[33][34]


1999–2000Millennium Eve: Celebrate 2000Co-presenterRTÉ One
2000–?Off the RailsCo-presenter
2002–?RI:SECo-presenterChannel 4
2002–2003Top of the PopsCo-presenterBBC One
2003Never Mind the BuzzcocksGuestBBC Two[35]
2004- ?Euromillions DrawPresenterSky One
2004–2005Wild TrialsPresenter
2005–?Gadgets, Gadgets, GadgetsCo-presenter
2008Science FrictionPresenterRTÉ One
2009–2014Bang Goes the TheoryCo-presenterBBC One
2009–2010Country TracksCo-presenterBBC Two
2010Museum of LifeCo-presenter
2010–2011AutumnwatchGuest presenter
2011—Stargazing LiveCo-presenterBBC One/BBC Two
2011Egypt's Lost CitiesCo-presenterBBC One
SpringwatchGuest presenterBBC Two
2012Super Smart AnimalsPresenterBBC One
Horizon: The Transit of VenusPresenterBBC Two
2013Tomorrow's World: A Horizon SpecialPresenter
Operation Snow TigerPresenter
2013Animal Odd CouplesPresenterBBC One
How the Earth WorksCo-presenterDiscovery Channel
2014Cat Watch 2014: The New Horizon ExperimentPresenterBBC Two
Animals Through The Night: Sleepover At The ZooCo-presenterBBC Four
2015Big Blue LiveCo-presenterBBC One
Animals in LovePresenter
India: Nature's WonderlandCo-presenterBBC Two
2016Cats v Dogs: Which is Best?Co-presenter
Horizon – Should We Close Our Zoos?
Nature's Epic JourneysPresenterBBC One
Wild Alaska LiveCo-presenter
2018Drowning In PlasticPresenter
2019Blue Planet LiveCo-presenter
Would I Lie to You?Guest
Snow AnimalsPresenter
Meat: A Threat to our Planet?Presenter
2020Penguins: Meet the FamilyNarratorBBC One[36]
2020-2021For The Love Of BritainCo-presenterITV[37]
2021Our Wild AdventuresGuest contributorBBC Two[38]
2022Our Changing PlanetCo-presenterBBC One[39]
The Island – 1.8 Billion Years in the MakingPresenterRTÉ[40]


  1. John Meagher (15 May 2016). "Former RTE star Liz Bonnin on choosing science over celebrity: 'FHM offered me a spread but I said no'". Retrieved 9 December 2016. And yet, [Bonnin] has never had an Irish passport...Bonnin says there isn't a drop of Irish in her - her parents emigrated to Dublin from France when she was nine. "When people ask what my nationality is, I say I'm French. I have a French passport, but I spent all my formative years in Ireland so I'm more Irish than French.
  2. Jarlath Regan (15 November 2014). "Liz Bonin". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast). No. 61. SoundCloud. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  3. "About Liz". Liz Bonnin. Archived from the original on 11 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  4. "Liz Bonnin - The Gordon Poole Agency Ltd". The Gordon Poole Agency Ltd. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  5. Donal Lynch (20 October 2019). "'I don't need something that's called 'home' - the planet is my home' - Liz Bonnin on Brexit, national identity, and climate". Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  6. "Why Liz Bonnin dream's of living in provence". Coventry Telegraph. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  7. "Meet Liz Bonnin". Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  8. Jeremy Torrance. "Nature UK: Autumnwatch: Ask Liz Bonnin a question". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  9. O'Connor, Stuart (16 April 2010). "Liz Bonnin: 'I'm still a nerd, just a different type of a nerd'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  10. "The Pale Band Profiles".
  11. "Can Liz Bonnin RI:SE to the Occasion?". ShowBiz Ireland. 14 June 2002.
  12. "Dustin-Faith of our Feathers track list". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  13. "Olaf bares all". The Irish Times. 25 November 2000. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  14. Jackson, Joe (14 September 2000). "John Ryan Interview". Hot Press Magazine. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  15. "Liz Bonnin and Gordon D'Arcy". RTÉ. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
  16. "Liz Bonnin". Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
  17. "Top of the Pops 2 – Trivia". BBC. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
  18. "MPs in the doghouse for charity". BBC. 26 April 2004.
  19. Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets at IMDb
  20. "Talking Shop:Liz Bonnin". BBC. 3 June 2009.
  21. "SCIENCE FRICTION ***New Series***". RTÉ Press Centre. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  22. "Museum of Life" (Press release). BBC. 11 November 2009.
  23. "Stargazing Live: TV Gold". 6 January 2011.
  24. "Egypt's Lost Cities". 31 May 2011.
  25. "Liz Bonnin says her love of science led her from pop success to Bang Goes The Theory". The Daily Record. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  26. "Tomorrow's World: A Horizon Special". BBC Two. 11 April 2013.
  27. "Horizon – Should We Close Our Zoos?". BBC Two. 17 April 2016.
  28. "BBC2 – Operation Snow Tiger". BBC Two. 16 June 2013.
  29. "Grey Geese Romance". BBC Two. 30 January 2015.
  30. "BBC announces new Natural History commissions". BBC. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  31. "Who Do You Think You Are? Liz Bonnin's past really is another country: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  32. Huffington Post UK
  33. "Liz Bonnin heartbroken after losing her mother to Covid at Christmas". 5 January 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  34. "Liz Bonnin reveals her mother died from Covid at Christmas". Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  35. ""Never Mind the Buzzcocks" Episode #12.10 (TV Episode 2003)". IMdb. 10 March 2003.
  36. "Penguins: Meet the Family". Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  37. "For The Love Of Britain". Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  38. "Our Wild Adventures". Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  39. "Our Changing Planet". Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  40. "The Island – 1.8 Billion Years in the Making". New Decade. Retrieved 17 August 2021.

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