In an announcement that has shocked fans of the show, the BBC has announced that it will be cancelling its Autumnwatch show. However, Springwatch and Winterwatch will continue, with more money invested into them.


The programme has aired for 17 years and is hosted by Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke, and Iolo Williams.

A statement from the BBC said “These are challenging times financially. We need to make difficult decisions and focus our resources on content that has the highest impact.”

“Sadly, this means that Autumnwatch will not be continuing. Instead, we are investing more money into Springwatch and Winterwatch, as they are most popular with audiences.”

“We are incredibly proud of the Watches and would like to thank the presenters and production team who will continue on Springwatch when it returns in May for three weeks, and Winterwatch when it returns next year for one week, reduced from two weeks.”

The announcement comes less than a week after the latest Winterwatch series finished airing from Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk and Edinburgh in Scotland, and Chris Packham announced that he was taking a career hiatus.

Presenter Michaela Strachan shared her feelings on via both Twitter and Instagram.

The news has disappointed conservationists and fans of the show, who have been sharing their views on social media.

Rebecca Speight, chief executive of the RSPB, tweeted: “Really so sorry to see this decision @bbc @Natures_Voice. The ‘watches’ are a fantastic way of engaging and growing knowledge about the natural world – just when we need it most. Tough times for the natural world too.”

“We need more programmes like Autumnwatch, Springwatch and Winterwatch on TV these days, not less,” said one person via Twitter. “They educate people on the nature at their doorstep at a time of biodiversity crisis. Wish we had programmes like these on Irish TV!”

Another tweeted “#Stargazing left our screens and now #Autumnwatch is going so I hear. It's a shame that the BBC has to make these cuts. To many of us, programmes like these are the only reason to watch the BBC.” To which, others replied “And these are the programmes the BBC does best. It doesn't make sense.” and “There used to be something both fascinating and entertaining every night on BBC2. It won channel of the year. Feels like someone new has taken over and is keen to break what didn't need to be fixed.”

Whilst many have reacted with disappointment, Tim Bonner, the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said that “The end of Autumnwatch presents an opportunity for the BBC to rebalance its wildlife programming. The BBC covers many rural issues well and produces lots of good countryside content, but there have been concerns about Autumnwatch’s unrealistic and anthropomorphic approach for many years. It won’t be missed in the countryside.”


Main image: The four main presenters of The Watches (left to right): Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke. © Jo Charlesworth/BBC


Megan ShersbyNaturalist, writer and content creator