PROFILE: Chris Packham

TV presenter Chris Packham is one of today’s most highly respected television naturalists. His recent television series include Inside the Animal Mind (BBC Two); Nature’s Weirdest (BBC Two) and The Burrowers (BBC Two). He presents Springwatch, Autumnwatch & Winterwatch (BBC Two).

He is recognised for his perceptive and outspoken views on conservation and his absolute passion for wildlife. He is president, vice-president, patron and supporter of many charities.

Groundbreaking

In late summer 2012, Chris was one of a team of scientists and filmmakers who spent five weeks in the Arctic documenting the life-cycle of icebergs, from birth to death, for the groundbreaking BBC/Discovery series Operation Iceberg. Chris described the iceberg as “radiating an irresistible terror”.
View his diaries »

In June 2012 Chris’s first truly global series achieved wide critical acclaim.  BBC Two’s ‘Secrets of our Living Planet’ was a remarkable 4-part series that saw Chris travelling to some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring ecosystems in order to reveal the real beauty of nature.

For Chris it was a chance to “tell the greatest story ever told” - an opportunity “to romp through some of the most amazing sub-plots and lead the viewers toward an awesome epiphany, to really explain how nature works.” He wanted viewers to go ‘Aww’ and ‘Wow’ and to “shed tears at the sheer beauty of it all. ” Judging by the huge volume of viewers’ feedback, this was most certainly achieved.

The early days 

Chris Packham was born in Southampton in 1961 and as soon as he was crawling around suburbia Ladybirds were being desiccated in matchboxes and tadpoles tortured in jam jars. Husbandry skills improved and the menagerie expanded to large collections of reptiles (inside) and birds of prey, foxes, badgers, squirrels etc (generally outside).

A precocious young scientist, swat and nerd in training he studied Kestrels, Shrews and Badgers in his teens and undergraduate days at the Zoology department of Southampton University. He also embraced Punk Rock and played in a band and the DIY ethos and determination to never take “no” for an answer are forcefully retained.

An Exceptional TV Presenter / An Award Winning Photographer 

Post graduation and a cancelled PhD, (the Badgers were getting a bit much), he began taking still photographs and trained as a wildlife film cameraman. His passion for photography is all consuming. Today he is an award winning photographer with exhibitions of his work and invitations to judge prestigious competitions.

But the camerawork gave way to presenting.

Chris began with the award winning “Really Wild Show” in 1996 and has been working ever since. Credits include, “Wildshots”, “Wild Watch”, “Go Wild“, ‘basically lots of things with “wild” in the title’. “X-Creatures”, “Postcards from the Wild”, “Hands on Nature” and “Nature’s Calendar” followed and at the turn of the century Chris ran a hugely successful production company “Head over Heels” making programmes for Animal Planet, National Geographic, ITV and the BBC.

Since 2009 Chris has presented BBC Two’s ‘Springwatch’ and ‘Autumnwatch’ with Martin Hughes-Games, Michaela Strachan and initially with Kate Humble.

Chris has the honour of being a pro-active president, vice president and patron of  some notable conservation charities and regularly expounds his entertaining, pragmatic and enthusiastic, occasionally controversial views, on the environment and its care.

He is Vice President of the RSPB and considered this a great honour as the charity is a formidable force in conservation in the UK and globally. Like many he has been a keen and long term supporter.

A Global View

Chris  has had the good fortune to travel widely and he has explored many habitats from Antarctic Islands, rainforests, deserts, the Everest range, the deep oceans and some of the planets most notorious nightclubs and drinking dens.

He says he is a sucker for archaeology and likes to holiday amongst ruins.

He has a couple of old cars which don’t get much exercise, two infamous poodles (Itchy & Scratchy) who can’t get enough exercise, and no fondness for unnecessary exercise himself. He reads and writes continuously. He dabbles in the art market and wishes he had a Miro. His top-ten favourite birds has a hundred in the list, he wants to see a Philippines Eagle before he dies and thinks Audrey Hepburn has no known earthly equal.

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Main image above:  Chris and Orang-utan. Borneo, Malaysia.
Photographer: Adam White.
Copyright: Adam White. Used with the kind permission of the BBC.

IMAGES OF Chris Packham

VIDEOS - Chris Packham