Springing into a new season
Our wildlife is waking up – and the BBC Springwatch team is ready for the drama.
Springwatch TV BBC Two Starts 28 May, 8pm, airing Mondays to Thursdays for three weeks
After what has felt like an interminably long winter, the season of blossom and buds has finally arrived. And how better to celebrate than with the seasonal wildlife extravaganza that is BBC Two’s Springwatch? Beaming into our living rooms this May, the new series will be fronted by old hands Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan, with roving reporter Gillian Burke bringing the latest from up and down the country.
HQ will be once again be the National Trust’s Sherborne Estate in Gloucester, marking for the first time on the Watches a full year of broadcasting from one location. “We’ll be looking back at 12 months of the wildlife we’ve encountered and everything we’ve learned here,” says series producer Chris Howard. “Sherborne is not a dedicated nature reserve, so it’s much more representative of the British countryside – it’s basically a slice of the Cotswolds. It reminds us that we never have to go too far to encounter wildlife.”
Highlights of the new series include, in no particular order, what a difference a decade and a no-take designation have made to Lamlash Bay on the Scottish Isle of Arran (look out for our article in the June issue); otters in the Cambridgeshire Fens, where the team will assist ecologist (and wildlife hero) Cliff Carson as he installs the 80th artificial holt in this watery landscape; garden mini-dramas starring slugs that migrate up oak trees and parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside other insects; curlews on the restored peatbogs at RSPB Dove Stone; black water voles; a chat with artist Robert Gillmor and walks in the rain with writer Melissa Harrison. Not forgetting, of course, the close-up, real-time antics of a plethora of garden birds, captured by a network of nestcams rigged across the estate.
“People love Springwatch because of that soap-opera element,” says Chris. “We revisit similar species every year, but there are always brilliant new dramas to follow and interesting new characters – it’s very Eastenders, where there’s a different storyline going on within each house. There is drama even in the familiarity, in the everyday species such as blue and great tits, blackbirds and buzzards. There’s always something new and exciting to share.”
GARDEN MINI-DRAMAS FEATURE SLUGS MIGRATING UP OAK TREES AND PARASITIC WASPS.”
Otter numbers are growing in Britain, including in the Cambridgeshire Fens, thanks to the provision of artificial holts.