holiday Mon-thurs / BBC2
I’d never heard of purple hairstreaks before meeting Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham at Sherborne Estate, where the team will be filming this year.
NEW FACTUAL Springwatch hol MON-THURS / BBC2 / 8.00PM
Hold onto your binoculars – it’s all change when Springwatch returns to BBC2 this week for its 13th series.
Instead of being based at a nature reserve as usual, this time presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Martin Hughes-games and Gillian Burke are heading to the National Trust’s Sherborne
Park Estate in the heart of the Cotswolds.
The team will settle here for the rest of the year, meaning the animal
stories they discover in this three-week extravaganza can then be followed up in sister shows Autumnwatch and Winterwatch.
TV Times met the lovely Michaela, 51, and Chris (who kindly gave up time on his 56th birthday for our interview and even shared his celebratory carrot cake from the Springwatch team with us) in central London, where we found out more…
What are the benefits of moving to the Sherborne Park Estate? Chris: We’ve got ourselves into the state of mind where, if we want to see wildlife, we go to a nature reserve. That depresses me because we should have an expectation to see wildlife throughout the country, whether it’s in the city or a rural environment. So we’re now going to explore a far more abundant
environment. Places like RSPB Minsmere [where Springwatch had been based since 2014] are an extraordinary testament to sculpting landscapes to produce an abundance of wildlife, but they don’t represent the bigger picture of what the UK countryside is about. Michaela: You go there and think, ‘It’s not Minsmere, it’s not managed, it’s not going to be as obvious where to go to get the good stuff ’. But our camera teams have come back really excited by this particular location.
Do you think the fact that viewers will find the new location more relatable will renew people’s interest in the great outdoors? Chris: I hope so. Unfortunately, many people who travel to work by road or rail look out and see a green and pleasant land, but a lot of it is badly damaged. So we hope viewers will appreciate the new location, recognise the good bits and ask for more of them, and also become sufficiently disgruntled by the bad bits that they affect positive change.
Have you been working on anything in advance of the show? Chris: Dr Dawn Scott from the University of Brighton, who has worked with us over several series, and I will be collaring and putting tags onto badgers and foxes as part of a study she is doing across the UK, looking at how these animals use the landscape in different ways.
The collars will last at least until the end of Winterwatch, so we’ll get to know them as individuals. I’m naming them after pop icons – one is called Madonna!
Sherborne Park Estate has more than 4,000 acres of parkland, farmland and woodland, and visitors can spot kingfishers, otters, deer, water voles, red kites, lizards and rare farmland birds, including corn buntings and yellowhammers. What’s on your wish list?
Michaela: Variety is always key. You want to have the birds we all
know. No doubt we will have a camera set up inside a nest box of blue tits – we always do!
Chris: The joy of the show is we are able to install 30-40 cameras, run them 24 hours a day and have people watching them intently, giving us an insight we could never have ourselves because you can’t sit that close to wildlife without disturbing it. If one or two things we wouldn’t normally see crop up, I always leave more than satisfied.
Springwatch is PREVIEWED on PAGES 48-49
Will the team spot any water voles?
Winging it: A colourful kingfisher