Chris Packham

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Chris Packham
Chris Packham 2011.jpg
In 2011
Born (1961-05-04) 4 May 1961 (age 54)
Southampton, Hampshire,[1] England
Alma mater University of Southampton
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.[3]

Life and work[edit]


Packham was educated at Bitterne Park Secondary School,[4] Taunton's College[5] and the University of Southampton, where he received a BSc in Zoology.[6] After graduating he cancelled his study towards a PhD to train as a wildlife cameraman.[7]


Packham is known for his television work, 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 the lead presenter on the BBC South's Inside Out,[1] and also works on BBC South East Inside Out with Kaddy Lee-Preston. Since June 2009, he has presented the BBC Two nature programme Springwatch.[8] 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.[9][10]

In 2011, Packham won an episode of Celebrity Mastermind. His specialist subject was the Battle of Rorke's Drift.[11]

In 2014 Presented a two-part documentary in which Chris Packham and Martha Kearney reveal the mysteries of the honeybee.[12]


Packham is president of the Hawk Conservancy Trust and the Bat Conservation Trust,[13] vice-president of the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts,[13] Butterfly Conservation and the Brent Lodge Bird & Wildlife Trust[14] and patron of Population Matters (formerly the Optimum Population Trust).[15] He is also patron of the Woolston Eyes Conservation Group, which manages Woolston Eyes Bird Reserve.[16]

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".[17] 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."[17]

Personal life[edit]

He is the brother of fashion designer Jenny Packham. He lives in the New Forest with his zookeeper girlfriend, Charlotte.[18] Packham has a stepdaughter, Megan, who lives with his ex-partner.[19]

Packham has suffered with Ménière's disease since the age of 37.[20]


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.[21] 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.[22] 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".[23]

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.[24]

In a 2010 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Packham stated, "The human population is sowing the seeds of a mass extinction event," and "The fact is there is not enough space". "The excessive demands of the growing population is having a disastrous effect on biodiversity. There are too many of us taking too much too quickly," he said. "We need to do something about it."[25] In 2012 Packham stated, "The single most important thing is not climate change but human population ... we have to find a means of regulating the population so we can prosper as a species... We haven't got unlimited space because we've only one planet."[26]

Packham is a critic of fox hunting and was among more than 20 high-profile people who signed a letter to Members of Parliament in 2015 to oppose Conservative prime minister David Cameron's plan to amend the Hunting Act 2004.[27]

Music and film referencing[edit]

In 2009 music bloggers noted how Packham was attempting to fit references to songs by the Smiths into his Springwatch dialogue.[28]search He did the same with songs by the Cure in 2010,[29]search and Manic Street Preachers in 2011.[30]search He has continued this in 2012's Springwatch, quite subtly inserting David Bowie titles from 28 May,[31]search and film titles in that year's Autumnwatch.

In Winterwatch (January 2013) he inserted Madness titles into his 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".search In 2011's Autumnwatch, Packham fitted in titles of songs by punk band The Damned, including "New Rose", "Neat Neat Neat", "Smash It Up" and "The History of the World".


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.[32][33]

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 earlier.[34]

Works by Packham[edit]



  • 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 12 October 2007. 
  2. ^ "Chris Packham". Desert Island Discs. 13 October 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Rees, Caroline. "Chris Packham: a force of nature". SAGA magazine. SAGA. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "CWIS PACKHAM RETURNS TO HIS ROOTS". Hampshire Life. Archant Life Ltd. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Past Student – Chris Packham". Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Alumni- Where are they now?". Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Biog". Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Tim Scoones (18 March 2009). "Springwatch 2009 – new presenter team announced". BBC. Retrieved 21 March 2009. 
  9. ^ "Chris Packham biography". David Foster Management. 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Really Wild man grows up". Southern Daily Echo. 19 February 2000. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  11. ^ BBC One – Celebrity Mastermind, 2011/2012, Episode 3
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Tim Scoones (18 March 2009). "Springwatch Blog: Springwatch 2009 – new presenter team announced". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Brent Lodge Bird and Wildlife Trust". 3 April 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Population Matters welcomes Chris Packham as new patron". Matters, ecological campaign organisation. 
  16. ^ "Woolston Eyes – Bird Reserve and Conservation Group". December 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Pitches, Adrian. "'Science geek' picks up BTO medal". British Birds 104 (1): 52. ISSN 0007-0335. 
  18. ^ "My haven: Chris Packham the TV naturalist, 51, in the cottage deep in the New Forest he shares with girlfriend Charlotte". Daily Mail (London). 30 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Packham: Stop Bleating And Have Fewer Kids". Sky News (London). 5 April 2011. 
  20. ^ Lagnado, Alice (2 May 2011). "I get so dizzy filming Springwatch I can hardly see the camera: Chris Packham on living with chronic vertigo". Daily Mail (London). 
  21. ^ "Autumnwatch's Chris Packham: 'Let pandas die'", 22 September 2009
  22. ^ "Abandon the Panda. TV expert: Let them Die", Daily Mirror, 22 September 2009
  23. ^ "TV Packham says sorry for 'ditch pandas' blast". 23 September 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  24. ^ "Chris Packham gets really wild over I'm a Celebrity". The Guardian (London). 4 December 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  25. ^ "Chris Packham says control the population to save wildlife". The Telegraph newspaper. 
  26. ^ "'We need to stop having so many kids': Chris Packham on why over-population is bigger threat than global warming". Mirror group newspapers. 
  27. ^ "SNP to vote against Tories on fox hunting ban in England and Wales". STV. 13 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  28. ^ Pattison, Louis (7 July 2009). "It's Chris Packham on Smiths-watch". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  29. ^ BBC. "The Cure: From the Smiths to Robert". 
  30. ^ "'Springwatch' presenter Chris Packham pulls off guerrilla Manic Street Preachers propaganda". NME. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  31. ^ "2012 mixtape: Bowie vs Springwatch- BBC Nature". 13 June 2012. 
  32. ^ BTO – Meet the Cuckoos.
  33. ^ BTO – Chris's Blog
  34. ^ "Chris Packham receives honorary doctorate in Southampton". BBC News. 19 December 2013. 

External links[edit]