Cadbury joined the BBC in 1978 as a trainee. She went on to produce films for the BBC's Horizon strand and won awards for her investigations. Her Horizon film, Assault on the Male, launched a world wide scientific research campaign into environmental oestrogens, hormone-mimicking chemicals potentially impacting human health, and led to her book, The Feminisation of Nature.
She moved into history programming in 2003 as the series producer of the BAFTA-nominated drama documentary series, Seven Wonders of the Industrial World. The series was notable for combining live action with CGI, created by Gareth Edwards, and was described as ‘a ground breaking achievement’ by the Times. In 2005 she produced the docudrama series, Space Race, the BBC’s first co-production between Russia and the United States with unique access to the Russian side of the story. As an executive producer Deborah continued her investigation of Cold War espionage in her BBC series Nuclear Secrets, which explored the race for supremacy through pivotal personal stories of such nuclear scientists as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and Andrei Sakharov.
Deborah Cadbury wrote her first historical nonfiction in 2000 with The Dinosaur Hunters, which examined the bitter rivalry between the early fossil hunters who pieced together the evidence of a prehistoric world. This was turned into a TV drama by Granada Productions and, in 2001, won the Dingle Prize from the British Society for the History of Science. Her 2003 book The Lost King of France, telling the story of the French revolution through the eyes of a child, Marie Antoinette’s son, received a nomination for the Samuel Johnson Prize and was described by historian, Alison Weir, as ‘Absolutely stupendous. This is history as it should be’.
At the height of the global financial crisis Deborah Cadbury went back into her own family history for her book, Chocolate Wars (2010), which unfolded the story of Cadbury from chocolate shop to the Kraft takeover. She coined the term ‘Quaker capitalism’ and she has given talks on the significance of this business heritage to INSEAD Business School, Birmingham and others. She is collaborating with Fable Films on a dramatization of the early chocolate pioneers.
More recently, she has written Princes at War (2015) exploring Britain’s ‘finest hour’ through the escalating conflict between George V’s four sons during the Second World War. Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking (2017) examines Queen Victoria’s role as a matchmaking grandmother and the remarkable vision of European unity that lay behind her schemes well before there was any notion of a ‘European Union’.
Deborah Cadbury was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Birmingham in 2013. Nominations for her drama documentaries include: Broadcast, Royal Television Society and BAFTA.
Major Works (Film)Edit
Assault on the MaleEdit
Assault on the Male (1994), was a BBC documentary directed and produced by Cadbury, exploring the potential effect chemicals mimicking the female sex hormone oestrogen, by-products of industrial and consumer waste, were having on male humans and animals. Researchers interviewed in the film from the United States, Britain and Denmark linked these chemicals to declining sperm counts and sex mutations (e.g. abnormalities in alligator penises in Lake Apopka, Florida, testicular deformities in young boys in Scotland). The documentary, produced in association with the Discovery Channel, received an Emmy award.
Seven Wonders of the Industrial WorldEdit
Dreams of Iron and Steel: Seven Wonders of the Nineteenth Century, from the building of the London Sewers to the Panama Canal is the companion book to this documentary.
In 2005 she produced "Space Race" an award winning Drama, the first BBC co-production between Russia and America.
Space Race: The Battle to Rule the Heavens is the companion book to this documentary.
Major Works (Books)Edit
The Feminization of NatureEdit
Altering Eden: The Feminization of Nature (1997) explores further the themes introduced in Cadbury's film Assault on the Male regarding the effects of "a variety of man-made oestrogens, in chemicals, plastics, pesticides and medicines" on the environment and, particularly, their potential harm to "wildlife and human sexuality and reproductive capacity." In the book, Cadbury details interviews she conducted with scientists around the world and outlines the process of scientific investigation into how chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, alkyl phenols, bi-phenols, phthalates, and dioxins may be contributing to phenomenon such as increased breast cancer rates, decreased sperm counts, and abnormalities in male genital development whose full impact "has yet to be realized." However, scientists in the book caution that more evidence is needed to confirm the exact causes and effects of the phenomenon being observed. In their estimation, it is too early in the process to make definitive statements as to the dangers exposure to these chemicals have and at what levels cause risk to humans and wildlife.
The Dinosaur HuntersEdit
In The Dinosaur Hunters, (2000), Cadbury examines the lives and discoveries of early nineteenth century fossil hunters. She starts with Mary Anning, who, at age 13, is credited with "uncovering the first whole fossil skeleton of an unknown creature" (later identified as an ichthyosaur). Cadbury also follows the careers of William Buckland, Gideon Mantell, and rival Richard Owen. Though Owen was recognized at the time for discovering the dinosaur, it was likely that Mantell's meticulous work in the field contributed greatly to Owen's ability to "prove a distinct genus of creatures". The book was turned into a film with the same name.
Dreams of Iron and SteelEdit
Dreams of Iron and Steel: Seven Wonders of the Nineteenth Century, from the building of the London Sewers to the Panama Canal (2003), is Cadbury's bestselling book focusing on seven "heroic" projects that "left the world transformed in almost every way possible": Isambard Kingdom Brunel's SS Great Eastern, Robert Stevenson's Bell Rock Lighthouse, Washington Roebling's Brooklyn Bridge, the London sewers, the American transcontinental railroad, the Panama Canal, and the Hoover Dam (which, critics point out, was built starting in 1931, so was not a wonder of the nineteenth century).
"Each wonder illustrates the swiftly moving frontiers of technology and serves as a unique moment, a marker for what was known at the time. Taken together, the wonders illustrate progress by charting the frontiers of industrial knowledge and expertise...The changes are not linear; history is not about a smooth, even progression. There are enormous bursts of creative endeavor and change that reach out in unexpected directions until what was once barely possible becomes routine."— Deborah Cadbury
The Lost King of FranceEdit
The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (2003) tracks the life, and subsequent death in 1795, of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's son and heir, the Dauphin, Louis-Charles. The family was forced to leave Versailles during the storming of the palace and were imprisoned in the Tuileries. The Dauphin was separated from his parents and left to die in a prison cell, though it was rumored the child was somehow secretly saved and another child died in his place. At the request of Dutch historian Hans Petrie, genetic testing was conducted by Jean-Jacques Cassiman, head of molecular diagnostics at the Center for Human Genetics in Belgium to determine whether the child's heart (which had been preserved) and hair from Marie Antoinette's sister would be a familial match. The scientific testing put to rest any claims of imposters; the DNA strands were found to be identical. One reviewer wrote: "Emotionally gripping and beautifully constructed, this is history, science and gothic horror in one." The book is to be developed as a film by Lynda La Plante.
"Chocolate Wars" starts with a brief history of early 19th century England when Quakers owned such companies as Wedgwood, Clarks, Bryant and May's, Huntley and Palmers and "helped shape the course of the Industrial Revolution" with a focus on product quality and wealth creation that funded social projects. It then focuses on the expansion of the chocolate business as new products were developed with Cadbury, Fry, Rowntree, Van Houten, Lindt, Nestlé, and Hershey all competing for global market shares. Despite its philanthropic roots, the Cadbury company itself (founded by the author's distant relatives, George and Richard Cadbury) is eventually taken over by Kraft. Chocolate Wars was second on The Christian Science Monitor's 2010 list of best nonfiction books.
Princes at WarEdit
Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain's Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII tells the story of the interlocked and conflicted lives of King George V´s four surviving sons, the Duke of Windsor, King George VI, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent during the abdication crisis and later on during World War II. The story focuses, primarily, on the two oldest brothers, Edward VIII, who, purportedly betrayed his royal duty by "insisting on his right to marry" Wallis Simpson, and George VI, who by his actions was forced to take up the responsibilities of acting monarchy. Cadbury's book "combines family drama against the backdrop of the war" which results in a telling of events "with deep sympathy to George VI". Cadbury vilifies Edward VIII and leaves open the question as to how close the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were to certain members of the Nazi regime. To some, Edward's role in events was "more nuanced and complex" than Cadbury presented in her book.
- Cheating Time (BBC, 1993)
- The Estrogen Effect: Assault on the Male (BBC, 1993), producer
- Horizon, Too Close to the Sun (BBC, 1994), producer
- Twice Born (1995), writer & producer
- Horizon: Dawn of the Clone Age (1997), writer & producer
- Seven Wonders of the Industrial World (2003), series producer
- End Day (2005), executive producer
- Space Race (2005), series producer
- Nuclear Secrets (2007), executive producer
- In Search of Medieval Britain (2008), executive producer
- Inside the Medieval Mind (2008), executive producer
- Horizon titles include: Fast Life in the Food Chain, Cheating Time, Assault on the Male, Twice Born, Too Close to the Sun, The Gulf War Syndrome, Fat Cats & Thin Mice, The Human Laboratory and Dawn of the Clone Age.
- Imagined Worlds, 1983, BBC Publications ISBN 978-0563203865
- The Feminisation of Nature, 1997, Penguin (UK) ISBN 978-0241137468, also published as Altering Eden: The Feminisation of Nature, St Martin's Press (US) ISBN 0-312-24396-0
- The Estrogen Effect: How Chemical Pollution Is Threatening Our Survival, 2000, St. Martin's Griffin, ISBN 978-0-312-26707-0
- The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World, 2001, HarperCollins (UK) ISBN 978-1857029635, also published as Terrible Lizard: The First Dinosaur Hunters and the Birth of a New Science, Holt/Macrae (US) ISBN 978-0805070873
- The Lost King of France, 2003, Fourth Estate (UK) ISBN 978-0007333790, St Martin's Press (US) ISBN 978-0312320294
- Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, 2003, Fourth Estate (UK) ISBN 978-0007163052, also published as Dreams of Iron and Steel, HarperCollins (US) ISBN 978-0007163069
- Space Race, 2005, Fourth Estate (UK), ISBN 978-0007209941, HarperCollins (US) ISBN 978-0007209958
- Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers, 2010, HarperCollins (UK) ISBN 978-0007325573, PublicAffairs (US) ISBN 978-1586488208, Douglas & McIntyre ISBN 978-1553655749 (Canada)
- Princes at War: The British Royal Family's Private Battle in the Second World War, 2015, Bloomsbury (UK) ISBN 978-1408845240, Public Affairs ISBN 978-1610394031 (US)
- Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe, 2017, Bloomsbury (UK) ISBN 978-1408852828 and Public Affairs (US) ISBN 978-1610398466
- "Deborah Cadbury". Bloomsbury Publishing. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- "Deborah Cadbury". Public Affairs. New York: Hatchett Book Group. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- "Deborah Cadbury". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2016.
- Showalter, Elaine (29 June 1997). "Books: An end of sperm report. Elaine Showalter reviews The Feminization of Nature: Our future at risk by Deborah Cadbury". The Observer. London, UK. p. 018.
- Anonymous (19 January 2011). "Sci-Fi film edited in a bedroom is a Bafta nominee". The Independent. London (UK). p. 14.
- Appleyard, Bryan (3 October 2005). "The Great Beyond". New Statesman (18). London (UK). pp. 48–49.
- McKie, Robin (28 January 2007). "Television: Monday 29 January: Pick of the Day: Father of the Nuclear Family: Nuclear Secrets: Superbomb BBC2, 9PM". The Observer. London (UK). p. 6.
- Coward, Ros (15 October 2000). "Review: books: Bones of Contention: The Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury". The Observer. London, UK. p. 11. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- "Dingle Prize". BSHS.org. The British Society for the History of Science. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- Colquhoun, Kate (23 October 2010). "Bittersweet glass and a half: Kate Colquhoun admires and insightful history of chocolate production". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. p. 28. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
- "Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers". Will am 580 Illinois Public Media and NPR. University of Illinois. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- Heller, Billy (8 March 2015). "Required Reading". New York Post. New York, NY. p. 32.
- Seymour, Miranda (11 September 2017). "Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe - Review". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- Goodman, Walter (2 September 1994). "TV Weekend; something is attacking male fetus sex organs: [Review]". New York Times (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, NY. p. D.17.
- "TV Reviews 'Assault on the Male' probes mutations". Los Angeles Times (Home Edition). Los Angeles, CA. 3 September 1994. p. 16.
- Kronke, David (4 June 2006). "High Drama Marks Race Into Space In 'Untold Story'". Daily News. Los Angeles, California. p. U13.
- Dillner, Luisa (10 June 1997). "Health: Against the Flow. It's National Men's Health Week, and boy, do they need it. Luisa Dillner charts the increasing dangers to sperm". The Guardian (2, 14). London, UK.
- Wolpert, Lewis (3 July 1997). "No children of men". The Times. London, UK. p. 42.
- Higgins, Martin (21 February 1998). "The Feminization of Nature". The Times (Metro). London, UK. p. 18.
- Abuja, Anjana (30 October 2000). "Bitter rivals with a bone to pick: The credit for discovering dinosaurs may have gone to the wrong man". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. A3.
- Sutcliffe, Thomas (31 December 2002). "Last Night's Television; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Giant Claw BBC1; Dinosaur Hunters C4". The Independent. London, UK. p. 17.
- "Bestsellers 2003". Sunday Times. London (UK). 7 December 2003. p. 44.
- Yardley, Jonathan (12 February 2004). "Forging Ahead". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. p. C.03.
- Kumar, Manjit (8 November 2003). "Blood, sweat, and imagination: Manjit Kumar salutes the visionary creators of the seven wonders of the modern age: Seven Wonders of the Industrial World by Deborah Cadbury". The Guardian. London, UK. p. 11. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
- Blow, Simon (24 November 2002). "Books: A broken heart and a single hair; The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury". The Independent on Sunday. London, UK. p. 15.
- Robinson, Oliver (29 June 2003). "Review: Books: Paperbacks". The Observer. London, UK. p. 18.
- Clark, Candida (28 June 2003). "Paperbacks". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. p. 11.
Candida, Clark (June 2003)
- Powers, Katherine (14 November 2010). "Search for utopia, fight over chocolate". The Boston Globe. Boston, MA. p. K.7. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
- Sams, Craig (13 November 2010). "Sweet industry: Our addiction to chocolate has developed into a gastronomic phenomenon worth $500bn". The Financial Times. London, UK. p. 14.
- Kehe, Marjorie (30 November 2010). "Best Books of 2010: nonfiction". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston, MA.
- Prochaska, Frank (10 April 2015). "The Windsors' worst-kept secret; the endless intrigues of the former kng and his new wife, Wallis Simpson, tormented George VI. But was it treason?". The Wall Street Journal (online). New York, NY. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- Goodwin, Daisy (4 April 2015). "At war with the Windsor boys". The Times (Eire Region). London, UK. p. 44.
- Brendon, Piers (11 April 2015). "A Familiar Tale of War on the Windsor Front". The Independent. London, UK. p. 26. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- Hastings, Selina (12 April 2015). "The war of the Windsor brothers". Mail on Sunday. London, UK. p. 37.
- Banks-Smith, Nancy (15 February 1995). "Television: Why silence isn't Goolden". The Guardian. Manchester, UK. p. 007.
- "Pre-natal surgery is not to be taken lightly: Television Review". The Times. London, UK. 15 February 1995. p. 1.