Soon after, Parry left the marines and headed to Loughborough University to study PE and sport. While he was studying, he spent his summer vacations working for ‘Trekforce’, leading science and conservation expeditions for gap-year students. By the time he got to his third year at Loughborough his itchy feet got the better of him and he quitted his course and got a job working for ‘Trekforce’ fulltime. He spent the next six years leading expeditions in the rainforests of Borneo, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Java.
Parry’s knowledge of the film industry was also gained during this time when he worked as a runner and later location manager on several feature films and commercials. He was also involved in the filming of several pop videos, including Blur, Manic Street Preachers and All Saints.
It was after one harrowing expedition with his friend Mark Anstice that Parry got his break into television. The pair climbed a little-known mountain in New Guinea and Parry filmed the whole journey, including several encounters with uncontacted peoples. On their return, the documentary ‘Cannibals and Crampons’ was snapped up by TV Producer Steve Robinson for the BBC’s ‘Extreme Lives’ series. Awards soon followed at both the Banff Mountain Film Festival and the Kendal Mountain Film Festival.
Parry was then asked to lead an expedition of 8 young people into the jungles of Borneo for the CBBC series ‘Serious Jungle’. Here the group worked with endangered orangutan and the resulting footage was turned into a six-part documentary which won an RTS Award. This success led to another series – ‘Serious Desert’ – in which Parry took 8 children into the Namibian desert for 3 weeks to work with the endangered black rhino. A BAFTA followed.
It was Robinson, the series producer for ‘Extreme Lives’, who then worked with Parry on an idea for a new series. Originally the series premise was going to be about survival and endurance but as they did their research they realised it would be more interesting to focus on the communities they visited. ‘Tribe’ was born.
In the first series, Parry visited indigenous tribes in isolated regions in India, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Gabon, Mongolia and Venezuela. The team spent one month with each community exploring their way of life, culture, rituals, diet and work. As well as documenting their day-to-day lives, the programme explored the threats facing each tribe.
Three series of ‘Tribe’ have now been made and it has won several BAFTAs, including one for Parry as ‘Best On-Screen Presenter’. The series, ‘Amazon’ had a similar premise with Parry staying with tribes he met along the 6,000 kilometre journey along the Amazon river. He has released a double album called ‘Amazon - Tribe - Songs for Survival’ which has tracks by a variety of artists including Mike Oldfield, Hot Chip, Mystery Jets and Yusuf Islam. All money raised by the sale of the album goes to Suvival International, the human rights organisation for tribal peoples.