Who is Chris Packham? Everything you need to know about the Springwatch presenter

Chris Packham is best-known for presenting BBC nature series Springwatch since 2009. Also an author, his TV work began in the 1980s, when he presented long-running CBBC programme The Really Wild Show. A well-known critic of fox hunting and shooting, he has been in the news this week following criticism from the Countryside Alliance and other shooting groups. Here is everything you need to know about the presenter.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 14:  English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author Chris Packham attends a photocall at Edinburgh International Book Festival at Charlotte Square Gardens on August 14, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images)

Springwatch co-presenter and nature photographer Chris Packham has been in the news this week after two dead crows were hung from his fence at his home in Hampshire. 

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This follows a campaign by his group Wild Justice which has seen Natural England revoke the general licences for crows and some other species – i.e. you didn’t need to apply for a specific licence to shoot them. Farmers and others can still apply for licences to shoot these birds if they are adjudged to be a pest.

Here are some facts you might not have known about the 57-year-old.

1. A determined naturalist from a young age, aged 14, he buried a pet black mouse called Batty in his garden under a green wooden cross after it died.

2. In a careers advice meeting in 1976, when Chris was 15, he claims he was told: “You cannot be an astronaut”.

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Chris Packham

3. He studied kestrels, shrews and badgers in his teens and as an undergraduate at Southampton University, where he read Zoology. In 2013, he was made an honorary Doctor of Science by Southampton.

4. Chris started building sets and cleaning cameras in July 1984, when he met wildlife filmmaker Stephen Bollwell, who he developed a long-lasting friendship with.

5. Among other things, BAFTA-winning children’s series The Really Wild Show saw presenters, which included Packham, Terry Nutkins and Michaela Strachan, swim with a killer whale and play football in the studio with a cheetah cub.

6. On BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Packham chose the collected works of F. Scott Fitzgerald as his book and binoculars as his luxury.

7. Chris managed to squeeze the names of 30 songs by The Smiths into his Springwatch broadcasts, including describing a stoat as “a sweet and tender hooligan”, saying a ruffled bird resembled a vicar in a tutu and, in response to a letter from a viewer called Sheila, saying “Sheila, take a bow!” He has also referenced songs by The Clash, The Cure, David Bowie and Manic Street Preachers in his shows.

8. Packham suffers from Ménière’s disease, a debilitating condition of the inner ear which causes bouts of vertigo and often nausea, vomiting and fluctuating hearing loss.

Guide to Winterwatch, Springwatch and Autumnwatch 2019: everything you need to know about the new BBC series

Winterwatch will return to BBC Two next year, broadcasting live from a new location in the wildest landscape of the UK – the Cairngorms National Park.

Here is our guide on what you can expect from The Watches series in 2019. 

 

Golden eagle

9. His partner, Charlotte, runs the Isle of Wight Zoo. They live in a cottage in the New Forest.

10. In 2017 Chris filmed a personal documentary called “Asperger’s and Me’ for BBC Two where he talked about living with Aspergers.

Autumnwatch presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games, seen at the National Trust Sherborne Park Estate on October 22, 2017 in Gloucestershire, England (Getty)
Autumnwatch presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games, seen at the National Trust Sherborne Park Estate on October 22, 2017 in Gloucestershire, England (Getty)
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11. Chris is part of the presenting team for this year’s Watches which will return to BBC Two this year, broadcasting live from a new location in the wildest landscape of the UK – the Cairngorms National Park.