The Watches (Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch) co-presenter, nature photographer, author and naturalist Chris Packham first appeared on our screens in the children’s CBBC nature programme The Really Wild Show. Since then he is best-known for presenting BBC nature series Springwatch since 2009 when he replaced Bill Oddie.
A passionate advocate for wildlife, Chris now presents with his step-daughter, the Zoologist Megan McCubbin who has recently started her presenting career on Springwatch.
Who is Chris Packham?
Here are some facts you might not have known about the 59-year-old Chris Packham.
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.
What did Chris Packham study?
In a careers advice meeting in 1976, when Chris was 15, he claims he was told: “You cannot be an astronaut”. He eventually 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.
Six fun facts about Chris Packham
1. Abstract expressionists such as Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning are his favourite painters.
2. He enjoys reading military history – most recently the sinking of the Bismarck in World War II.
3. The bird he would most like to see is the Araripe manakin, a species only found in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil. He calls it the Duran Duran bird, because of its bright red crest resembling a quiff.
4. His most memorable wildlife spectacle is watching “one million flamingos” flying in to land on Lake Victoria. “I could have burst, it was beyond comprehension.”
5. He always keeps a roll of bin bags in his travel bag – he can use them for wet clothes or dead specimens.
6. A favourite joke is: “I was at the zoo the other day and I saw a bloke trying to chat up a cheetah – he was trying to pull a fast one.”
When did Chris Packham present The Really Wild Show?
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. He then went on to present the BAFTA-winning children’s series The Really Wild Show saw presenters, which included Terry Nutkins and Michaela Strachan as co-hosts and saw Chris swim with a killer whale and play football in the studio with a cheetah cub.
A lover of music
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.
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.
Where does Chris Packham live?
Chris lives in a cottage in the New Forest, which featured in his personal documentary from 2o17 called “Asperger’s and Me’ for BBC Two where he talked about living with Aspergers. Chris’s partner, Charlotte, runs the Isle of Wight Zoo.
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)