aims and objectives of CFTWI are simple. Care for the Wild International provides
immediate aid to wildlife in distress anywhere in the World. They work with the
local people and government bodies in an attempt to alleviate suffering of wild
says, "I respect Care for the Wild International's work in protecting animals
around the world. In particular I support their essential funding of sanctuaries
in the UK as I have a keen interest in British wildlife"
Paul Henery is an extrememly busy
man. As a full-time Wildlife Officer in the Northumberland Police Force, he is
responsible for controlling an area that reaches from Berwick in the North and
the Scottish Border to Cumbria in the West, to Durham in the South and out to
the East Coast. Not only does he fight wildlife crimes, he also recruits and trains
officiers in wildlife legislation and when he's not doing all of the above, he's
checking scripts, and providing ideas for the storyline of the BBC Drama Series
'Badger', starring Jerome Flynn. He talked to Care for the Wild International
on the set while filming the second series of Badger, during his lunch hour.
Paul is the unsung
hero of the Badger series and the character on whom Jerome Flynn's Tom McCabe
is based. He is more than dedicated to his job, professing that, 'Wildlife is
and always has been my lifetimes interest and passion'. He has always had a healthy
interest in the world around him, painting and sketching the fauna and flora of
Northumberland and Scotland whenever he has a spare moment. He's also currently
studying part-time for a fine arts degree and is enjoying experimenting with all
sorts of media from watercolours to sculpture. He says he'll try everything and
anything, which in a way seems to symbolise his thrust for life. Paul seems to
have a driving force that make things happen for him and which has made him into
the successful Wildlife Officer that he is today.
The producers of 'Badger' read an article about Paul in a national
newspaper and thought that his role was a great idea to base a series around.
The series is also whole-heartedly endorsed by Paul, although he recognises that
there are always going to be some inconsistencies and inaccuracies which come
with having to adapt real-life situations to the screen. Paul believes that because
it's a drama, as opposed to a documentary, which may only attract people interested
in wildlife, it's educating those people that are otherwise unaware about the
beauty of these animals and the criminal activities that take place. He is very
praiseworthy of Jerome who, with a similar respect for all living things, is the
ideal actor to get these messages across. During filming for the first series
Paul took Jerome out with him so he could get a feel for the role and the two
have become good friends. "I like Jerome", says Paul, "He is genuinely interested
in wildlife and we got on together very easily. I think the series has given a
real boost to our work".
are no Home Office Statistics available for wildlife crime and therefore it is
very difficult to justify and hard to divert funds within forces to deal with
it. Jerome explained later, "For some reason there's a tendency for the authorities
to feel that animal crime isn't a real crime - but it's one of the fastest growing
areas of crime in the world". Paul keeps individual records himself and the most
commonly reported incidents involve people keeping birds of prey and owls. Paul's
plans for the future are to improve wildlife law enforcement across the police
force as a whole and therefore to increase efficiency. Personally he will be continuing
his wildlife interests and developing his painting. Paul expressed his praise
for all of the wildlife sanctuaries that take in animals, recognising that it's
impossible to enforce wildlife laws without having the facilities to place the
animals which are seized. He also thanked CFTWI for supporting British sanctuaries
in their vital work.
also spoke to Jerome Flynn on the same freezing cold day, during another break
from filming. Jerome is probably most famous for his role in 'Soldier, Soldier'
and his pop success with friend Robson Green. After two years away from the business
Jerome chose Badger as his comeback series, largely because wildlife has always
been a great love in his life. He plays Tom McCabe, also know as Paul Henery,
and as I chat to Jerome I note that he and the officer on which his character
is based, are not dissimilar.
Both are tall and striking looking with a lust for life and a
shared passion for the world around them. Jerome says he feels a connection with
every living thing. He also feels connected to the character he plays in Badger.
He has huge respect for Paul because he says, "He really cares about wildlife
and sees the persecution of animals and their dwindling populations as more important
than catching a guy who's stolen a video." He recognises that being a famous face
in the character he plays, Jerome is making people more aware about wildlife issues.
He says he is in the lucky position to be able to help animal and human charities
although he can't obviously commit to too many. (During the height of his success
with Robson the pair joined forces to help Greenpeace, signing over some of the
royalties of their huge hit, Unchained Melody, to the cause). He has a wide respect
for animals and humans alike and has no particular wildlife favourite, although
he has swum with dolphins on a number of occasions and once played with 4 lion
cubs in Kruger National Park.
Born and brought up in the Kent countryside, Jerome would come
home after school and head straight into the woods and fields. He says he has
always loved animals and he was introduced to a wide variety of wildlife from
an early age by his mother who "...couldn't resist anything that was in trouble."
She rescued and looked after various victims that needed her help. He remembers
birds of prey and kestrels, stoats, a damaged weasel, a lone fox and two fox litters
whose mother had been gassed. In fact, if his father - actor Eric Flynn - hadn't
given him his stage break while he was still a teenager, Jerome might easily have
become what he now plays - a Police Wildlife Liaison Officer. "At one time I nursed
ambitions to be a Police Officer", says Jerome, "So a Wildlife Liaison Officer
would have combined both my childhood interests." Jerome is against cruelty to
animals in any form and as we interviewed him on the set of Badger in the Northumberland
fells a local hunt rode past, much to his disgust.
On the subject of badger culling he is again very condemning,
especially upon hearing the huge sums of money that MAFF are spending and the
numbers being culled in an effort to establish a link between badgers and TB and
halt the spread to cattle. A strict vegetarian, Jerome can't understand why they
are trying to protect the cattle industry anyway, "The beef industry is responsible
for so much cruelty and suffering - it just comes down to greed in the end, our
fundamental obsession with getting and having for ourselves."
Jerome meditates for 2 hours a
day whether working or not. He also takes time out to go on a retreat to India
each year with his spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen. "The essence of life is spiritual,
it's beyond what we can see or touch. Andrew Cohen's teaching has helped me to
reconnect with that part of myself, the part of me that needs nothing added, but
is not separate from the whole of life itself. Being cut off from our spiritual
centre, from our true self, I've no doubt is the reason that we cause so much
suffering to each other, to the animals and to the environment around us."
We would like to thank Care for the Wild International for kindly allowing us
the rights to this interview with Jerome Flynn and Paul Henery. We would also
like to thank Paul for his contribution too!
For more information
about CFTWI please visit their web site