Filmmaker who claims he spotted elusive ‘Fen Tiger’ to make movie on his terrifying encounter

PUBLISHED: 12:46 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:09 17 September 2020

Filmmaker Martin J Pickering claims he spotted the Fen Tiger when he was a teenager and will base his new film around his experience. Picture: Supplied/Pixabay

Filmmaker Martin J Pickering claims he spotted the Fen Tiger when he was a teenager and will base his new film around his experience. Picture: Supplied/Pixabay

Supplied/Martin J Pickering

A successful filmmaker who claims he once spotted the elusive Fen Tiger is set to film a new movie based on his terrifying experience.

Could this be Fen Tiger? Spotted in Wisbech in 2013. Picture: Archant/ArchiveCould this be Fen Tiger? Spotted in Wisbech in 2013. Picture: Archant/Archive

Martin J Pickering – who has worked with superstar musicians Dua Lipa, Rihanna and Paloma Faith – says he encountered the big cat when he was a teenager.

The father-of-two will base his new film, Claws, around his experience in 1995 when he and a friend were travelling from Cottenham to Willingham.

Just 16-years-old at the time, Pickering claims they spotted a “large black animal” staring at the pair as they followed back roads to their destination.

He said: “We took a back road from Rampton, down a Fen road that leads to Willingham.

Filmmaker Martin J Pickering on set. Picture: Supplied/BigHeadMediaFilmmaker Martin J Pickering on set. Picture: Supplied/BigHeadMedia

“A few minutes down that road, we came to a bend, as we went round the bend there was a large black animal that we initially thought was a big black dog.

“I shouted to my friend ‘what the hell is that’, he shouted back, ‘it’s the Fen Tiger’; he was right, it was a big black panther, looking right at us.

“It bounded away as we passed it. We must have only been around 15 foot away from it, maybe closer, as the road is tiny and it was on the grass verge.

“As it moved, it was clearly feline. We got a bit scared because we were both going quite slowly on my friends 50cc motorbike. Maybe 28 miles per hour max.

One shot from Martin J Pickering's Wicked Witches. Picture: Martin J PickeringOne shot from Martin J Pickering's Wicked Witches. Picture: Martin J Pickering

“I remember shouting to my friend that it could easily catch us and looking behind me. The rest of that ride was a bit edgy after seeing that.”

Pickering and his friend made a pact that night to never forget what they saw and that they would never brush it off as their imagination when they get older.

Now a filmmaker – the man behind the feature film Wicked Witches which was filmed all over Cambridgeshire – he is ready for his next movie.

He added: “I thought that the Fenland Tiger could make a good creature horror film based around my experience, but in the movie the kid on the back of the motorbike isn’t so lucky.

Old BBC News article about Josh Hopkins' big cat incident. Picture: BBC News OnlineOld BBC News article about Josh Hopkins' big cat incident. Picture: BBC News Online

“I think the Fens have a cinematic and sometimes creepy feel that we used in Wicked Witches to give a sense of isolation and now for my new film called Claws.

“I intend to do a similar thing but this time there’s an oversized aggressive panther lurking.

“It’s not just here in Cambridgeshire, but these big cats have been seen all over the UK. In 2001, an 11-year-old boy in Wales got attacked by a large black cat.

“Luckily, he stood his ground and lived to tell the tale, but he was left with claw marks down his face.

Filmmaker Martin J Pickering. Picture: SuppliedFilmmaker Martin J Pickering. Picture: Supplied

“This scene and others will play a part in the movie which will be filmed all over Cambridgeshire.”

Martin and his team hope to speak with local residents who may have experienced seeing the Fen Tiger or black panthers in the UK.

He added: “These people will be interviewed and used in the movie as ‘real’ footage, to give the film a feel that these things are real and not just a myth.

“However, I am looking for some added funding to make this British creature horror a reality, but we’re hoping to start filming next spring.

Martin J Pickering on set. Picture: Supplied/BigHeadMediaMartin J Pickering on set. Picture: Supplied/BigHeadMedia

“These things can take a while to get off the ground.”

To follow the film’s progress, visit: www.facebook.com/clawscreaturefilm


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