Chris Packham

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Chris Packham
Chris Packham 2011.jpg
In 2011
Born (1961-05-04) 4 May 1961 (age 52)
Southampton, Hampshire,[1] England, UK
Occupation Nature photographer, television presenter, author
Family Jenny Packham (sister)
Awards Dilys Breese Medal
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 13 October 2013.[2]


Christopher Gary "Chris" Packham (born 4 May 1961) is an English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author, best known for his television work including the children's nature series The Really Wild Show in the late 1980s. He has presented the BBC nature series Springwatch since 2009.



Chris is known for his television appearances, notably in the BAFTA-winning BBC1 children's programme The Really Wild Show[1] and nature photography series Wild Shots on Channel 4, as well as the BBC One series The X Creatures[1] and BBC Two's Hands on Nature and Nature's Calendar. He was until recently the lead presenter on the BBC South region's version of the BBC local television series Inside Out,[1] and also works on BBC South East Inside Out with Kaddy Lee-Preston. In June 2009, he became a presenter on the BBC Two nature programme Springwatch,[3] and went on to present the series in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2014 he presented Inside the Animal Mind on BBC TV.

He formed the production company 'Head Over Heels' with producer Stuart Woodman, making wildlife programmes for Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and the BBC.[4][5]

In 2011, Packham won an episode of Celebrity Mastermind. His specialist subject was the Battle of Rorke's Drift.[6]


Packham is president of the Hawk Conservancy Trust and the Bat Conservation Trust,[7] vice-president of the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts,[7] Butterfly Conservation and the Brent Lodge Bird & Wildlife Trust [8] and patron of Population Matters (formerly the Optimum Population Trust). He is also patron of the Woolston Eyes Conservation Group, which manages Woolston Eyes Bird Reserve.[9]

He has had papers on Kestrels published in "British Birds".

In 2011, he was awarded the British Trust for Ornithology's Dilys Breese Medal for his "outstanding work in promoting science to new audiences".[10] He said:

"I have always been interested in scientific research and understood its importance in underpinning conservation action, not just in this country but around the globe. To receive this award from one of the leading scientific research establishments in the country is a real honour [and] is also very poignant for me. Dilys was instrumental in me getting my first wildlife-presenting job at the BBC. I accept the award for her and citizen scientists everywhere."[10]

Personal life[edit]

Packham was educated at Bitterne Park Secondary School,[11] Taunton's College[12] and the University of Southampton, where he received a BSc in Zoology.[13] After graduating he cancelled his study towards a PhD to train as a wildlife cameraman.[14]

He is the brother of fashion designer Jenny Packham. He lives in the New Forest with his zookeeper girlfriend, Charlotte.[15] Packham has a stepdaughter, Megan, who lives with his ex-partner.[16]

Packham has suffered with Ménière's disease since the age of 37.[17]


In a 2009 interview with the Radio Times, Packham suggested that the giant panda was too expensive to save, and that it "should be allowed to become extinct" so that funds could be redistributed to protecting other, less expensive animals and habitats.[18] He made a similar comment in 2008, saying that he would "eat the last panda" if doing so would retroactively redistribute the money spent on panda conservation.[19] He later apologised for upsetting people, saying that he loved all animals but that he was "glad it has raised a debate and that was always my intention".[20]

In December 2009, Packham criticised reality TV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! for mistreating animals, accusing them of plugging up spiders' fangs, needlessly killing insects and tying crocodiles' mouths shut.[21]

In 2009 music bloggers noted how Packham was attempting to fit as many references to songs by the Smiths into his Springwatch dialogue.[22][23] He did the same with songs by the Cure in 2010,[24][25] and Manic Street Preachers in 2011.[26] He has continued this in 2012's Springwatch, quite subtly inserting David Bowie titles from 28 May,[27] and film titles in that year's Autumnwatch. In Winterwatch (January 2013) he inserted Madness titles into his dialogue. In springwatch (May 2013) he inserted titles by The Clash, opening the show by commenting that the weather had made him wonder "Should I Stay or Should I Go".


In 2011 the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ran a pioneering project to discover the details of cuckoo migration from Britain to Africa. One of its five electronically tagged cuckoos was named Chris, after Packham, because the BBC Wildlife Fund had funded much of the project. The cuckoos were tracked by satellite during their migration from summer breeding grounds in Norfolk across the Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert to their wintering grounds in the Equatorial Congo. Chris was one of only two birds to survive the trip and return to Thetford Forest in May 2012.[28][29]

In December 2013 Packham was made an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Southampton, having originally graduated from the university more than 30 years ago.[30]



  • Packham, Chris (March 1985). "Role of male Kestrel during incubation". British Birds 78 (3): 144–5. 
  • Packham, Chris (April 1985). "Bigamy by the Kestrel". British Birds 78 (4): 194–5. 



  1. ^ a b c d "BBC Inside Out - South: Presenter profile". BBC. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  2. ^ "Chris Packham". Desert Island Discs. 13 October 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Tim Scoones (2009-03-18). "Springwatch 2009 - new presenter team announced". BBC. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  4. ^ "Chris Packham biography". David Foster Management. 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Really Wild man grows up". Southern Daily Echo. 19 February 2000. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  6. ^ BBC One - Celebrity Mastermind, 2011/2012, Episode 3
  7. ^ a b Tim Scoones (2009-03-18). "Springwatch Blog: Springwatch 2009 - new presenter team announced". BBC. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  8. ^ "Brent Lodge Bird and Wildlife Trust". 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  9. ^ "Woolston Eyes - Bird Reserve and Conservation Group". December 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Pitches, Adrian. "'Science geek' picks up BTO medal". British Birds 104 (1): 52. ISSN 0007-0335. 
  11. ^ "CWIS PACKHAM RETURNS TO HIS ROOTS". Hampshire Life. Archant Life Ltd. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Past Student - Chris Packham". Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  13. ^ "Alumni- Where are they now?". Retrieved 19 Oct 2010. 
  14. ^ "Biog". Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "My haven: Chris Packham the TV naturalist, 51, in the cottage deep in the New Forest he shares with girlfriend Charlotte". Daily Mail. 2012-11-30. 
  16. ^ "Packham: Stop Bleating And Have Fewer Kids". Sky News (London). 2011-04-05. 
  17. ^ Wildlife star Chris Packham on living with chronic vertigo | Mail Online
  18. ^ "Autumnwatch's Chris Packham: 'Let pandas die'", September 22nd, 2009
  19. ^ "Abandon the Panda. TV expert: Let them Die", Daily Mirror, September 22nd 2009
  20. ^ "TV Packham says sorry for 'ditch pandas' blast". 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  21. ^ "Chris Packham gets really wild over I'm a Celebrity". The Guardian (London). 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  22. ^ Pattison, Louis (7 July 2009). "It's Chris Packham on Smiths-watch". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  23. ^ YouTube. "Chris Packham's The Smiths references - Springwatch 2009". Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  24. ^ BBC. "The Cure: From the Smiths to Robert". 
  25. ^ YouTube. "Chris Packham does the Cure - Springwatch 2010". Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "'Springwatch' presenter Chris Packham pulls off guerrilla Manic Street Preachers propaganda". NME. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  27. ^ "2012 mixtape: Bowie vs Springwatch- BBC Nature". 13 June 2012. 
  28. ^ BTO - Meet the Cuckoos.
  29. ^ BTO - Chris's Blog
  30. ^ BBC News - Chris Packham receives honorary doctorate in Southampton

External links[edit]