A Birmingham film maker who has filmed Vampire Squids from Hell has been named among the top 100 talents in the British television industry.

Steve Downer from Acocks Green has been recognised for his work as a specialist wildlife cameraman on programmes such as Planet Earth, Life in the Undergrowth and Coast.

For the BBC's Nature of Britain he sat in front of his camera for 12 hours a day for a week waiting for a caterpillar to hatch into a butterfly.

But perhaps a more hair raising assignment saw him filming himself being being fed upon by fleas, bed bugs and leeches for the Sky series Invasion of the Bodyscratchers. Unfortunately, the leech proved too enthusiastic and bit through a vein in Steve's wrists resulting in a visit to hospital.

Now he has been recognised in craft and post section of the Mediaweek Hot 100 list, which also features Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

Steve said: "I am really pleased, it is great to be recognised by my peers in the industry.

"I am hoping that other companies will pick up on it, and offer me some more work. I have been making wildlife films for more than 20 years, and get called into projects all the time."

Steve's wildlife work can be seen on Planet Earth - Oceans Deep on December 10.

In this Steve filmed a variety of deep sea creatures collected from the ocean canyons of Monteray Bay, California, including the Vampire Squid which lives at depths of more than 1,000 metres.

The creature, whose Latin name Vampyroteuthis infernalis means Vampire squid from hell has proportionately the largest eyes in the animal kingdom.

Thankfully Steve did not get too close to this animal, as it was brought to the surface in a specially pressurised container by a ship, which allowed Steve to film it.

On another occasion, he spent six months in the Indian jungle attempting to get footage of the King Cobra - the most venomous snake in the world.

"At one point he struck me with his head and I was very lucky he didn't have his fangs out. I think the snake was trying to warn me off."

As well as filming on location, Steve has also constructed animal habitats in his studio.

On one occasion - for the new Alan Titchmarsh series Nature Of Britain - this involved building an ants nest for the caterpillar of Large Blue Butterfly to transform into a caterpillar.

He added: "You have to have a lot of patience, but you have to ensure the animal is happy in their environment.

"It is not just camera work, but understanding animal behaviour. The priority is to ensure the animal is happy so they behave naturally."