Smoke Trail

Smoke Trail Productions develops documentary films, podcasts and audio documentary series about the fight to save the planet. Founders Dan Ashby and Lucy Taylor are investigative environment journalists who direct, produce, write and present gripping stories from around the world.

Dan & Lucy creating their multi-episode narrative podcast


Dan is a director, film-maker and journalist specialising in environment story-telling. 

His documentary short Beautiful Poison for Hot Docs was featured at the UN General Assembly, and tells the story of one Ohio community’s fight to turn toxic rivers into paint. His Waterbear/Quorn film The Catastrophe Garden follows a group of scientists’ mission to bring hydroponics to a Syrian refugee camp.

Dan works with Lucy to bring environment stories to the widest audiences, using compelling characters, intriguing narratives and thrilling cinematography. Their BBC Sounds podcast, Buried, is fast becoming one of the biggest factual audio hits of 2023, with The Guardian describing it as ‘straight from a hard-hitting TV drama’. The series generated news headlines on the Today Programme, BBC Breakfast and BBC News at Six, and is one of many stories in further development for film and drama. 

He has a background in TV & radio. He produced, reported or presented for ITV, Deutsche Welle and many others, while living and working in East Africa and Russia for six years. He started his career as an ITV Tyne Tees television reporter, being shortlisted for a national Royal Television Society Award for his investigative journalism. 


Lucy is an environment producer and presenter, passionate about bringing urgency to environmental story-telling.

She produced The Catastrophe Garden and Beautiful Poison, overseeing editorial development, on-location production and compliance. Along with Dan, she presented the hit BBC podcast Buried, and her experience as a TV reporter and producer means she brings a wealth of international experience to global film projects.

She is a former Moscow Bureau Chief, managing TV coverage on major stories ranging from Putin’s authoritarian crackdown to the FIFA World Cup for global broadcasters such as ITV News, CBC and more.

Like Dan, she previously lived and reported across the world, appearing on channels such as PBS USA and DW. Her stories have sparked military press conferences and UN investigations.