Christopher Gary Packham
4 May 1961
|Alma mater||University of Southampton|
|Family||Jenny Packham (sister)|
Megan McCubbin (step-daughter)
|Awards||Dilys Breese Medal|
Christopher Gary Packham CBE (born 4 May 1961) is an English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author, best known for his television work including the CBBC children's nature series The Really Wild Show from 1986 to 1995. He has also presented the BBC nature series Springwatch, including Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, since 2009.
Packham was born in Southampton, Hampshire. He was educated at Bitterne Park Secondary School, Taunton's College and the University of Southampton, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. After graduating, he cancelled his study towards a Doctorate of Philosophy to train as a wildlife cameraman.
Packham is known for his work as a television presenter, which began in 1986 with the BAFTA-winning BBC1 children's programme The Really Wild Show (1986–1995) and nature photography series Wild Shots on Channel 4. He also wrote and presented the BBC One series The X Creatures and BBC Two's Hands on Nature and Nature's Calendar. Other television series included Go Wild (Live) and Travel UK for Central Television, Nature's Detectives (BBC), Really Wild Guide (BBC2) The Good Sex Guide Series III and The Great Dinosaur Trail, which he wrote and presented for LTV Carlton Television, Watchout Series II and III as lead presenter, Animal Zone (BBC2), Postcards from the Wild and An Evening with Chris Packham for Discovery Animal Planet. Other network television programmes included Flying Gourmets Guide (BBC1), The Great British Birdwatch (Live) for BBC, Smokescreen for Harlech Television, Beachwatch (Live), Flamingo Watch (Live), Heading South (Live) for the BBC, and Behind the Scenes of the Lost World for Meridian Television.
During this time, Packham was involved in numerous regional television series, such as The London Wildlife Challenge for ITV Carlton Television, Anything Goes (Live), Birdwatch with Chris Packham, The Pier on Film and Wildwatch with Chris Packham for Meridian Television, and Go for Green for BSB Satellite and Cable. Regional television programmes included: Through Two Cameras, The Wild Garden, The Wood Worker, The Disappearing Down, Jewels in the Sand, Wildfowl Seasons and The Keepers of the Forest.
Since June 2009, he has co-presented the BBC Two nature programme Springwatch – and its sister programmes BBC Autumnwatch and BBC Winterwatch – along with various others. He has also led yearly birdwatching tours in The Gambia.
In 2013, he presented a four-part documentary series entitled Secrets of Our Living Planet, which demonstrated the complex ecological relationships upon which apparently unconnected species, such as tigers and crabs, depend.
In 2014, Packham presented a two-part BBC documentary in which he, Martha Kearney and Adam Hart examined in detail the behaviour of the honeybee, as well as a BBC series on animal cognition, called Inside the Animal Mind, which partly featured his own pet dogs. In 2014, he presented a 10-part series The Wonder of Animals for the BBC. It included episodes on birds of prey, dolphins, crocodiles, great apes, elephants, foxes, ants, big cats, bears and penguins.
In 2016, Packham co-presented a two-part series for the BBC, Cats v. Dogs: Which Is Best?, along with Liz Bonnin. The programmes compared cat behaviour and relationships with humans, against those of dogs, in the format of a mock contest. It also explored some recent research on the subject.
In 2017, Packham co-presented Earth Live on Nat Geo Wild with Jane Lynch and Phil Keogan. The programme was a live journey exploring some of the most spectacular wildlife on the planet. He also worked with Jaguar Land Rover on a promotional podcast series called The Discovery Adventures.
In October 2017, he presented a BBC Television documentary about his experience as a high-functioning person with Asperger's, Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me. In the programme, Packham examined critically the approach taken to autism and Asperger syndrome in the United States.
In January 2018 he presented BBC Two's The Real T-Rex, in which he attempted to rebuild the most authentic Tyrannosaurus rex ever seen, from the bones up. Also in January he presented Chris Packham: In Search of the Lost Girl on BBC Two, in which he highlighted the impact of palm oil consumption on the rainforests of Sumatra.
In August 2018, Packham co-hosted Yellowstone Live on National Geographic Channel with TV host Josh Elliott, a four-night event showcasing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with feeds from dozens of live cameras and seven camera crews.
In March 2019, Packham presented, along with Liz Bonnin and Steve Backshall, four-part series Blue Planet Live.
In 2020, he narrated a three-part documentary series called Primates. Along with Ella Al-Shamahi, he also co-presented Waterhole: Africa's Animal Oasis which premiered in December of the same year.
Charity work and wildlife conservation
Packham is president of the Hawk Conservancy Trust, the Bat Conservation Trust, the Hampshire Ornithological Society, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Southampton Natural History Society. He was president of the Hawk and Owl Trust between 2010 and 2015.
Packham is patron of Population Matters (formerly the Optimum Population Trust), Africat, and The Sholing Valleys Study Centre. He is also patron of the Woolston Eyes Conservation Group, which manages Woolston Eyes Bird Reserve, The Humane Research Trust, The Fox Project, ORCA, The Seahorse Trust, The NatureWatch Foundation, Raptor Rescue, The Fleet Pond Society and Birding for All.
Packham set up Wild Justice in February 2019, a not for profit company limited by guarantee which aims to ensure that the legal system in the UK protects wildlife.
Honours and awards
In December 2014, Packham was voted "Conservation Hero of the Year" by readers of Birdwatch magazine in association with the online BirdGuides website for his work in publicising the illegal slaughter in Malta of millions of migrating birds.
Packham's memoir Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, published by Ebury Press in April 2017, was voted the UK's Favourite Nature Book in a poll run by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in January 2018.
The BBC Two documentary Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me broadcast in October 2017 received the 2018 Broadcasting Press Guild Award for the best single documentary.
He found his time at school very difficult, being socially excluded and regularly bullied by fellow pupils. In his teenage years, he was responsible for the care of a kestrel, which he took from the wild and the death of which was a severe low point in his life. At university, he embraced the punk rock scene.
Packham has had Ménière's disease since his late 30s. In 2003, at the age of 42, Packham began seeing a therapist after the death of his dog. As his work with the therapist concluded in 2005, Packham was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. He has also stated that he has suffered from severe depression.
Packham has owned a property in Bordeaux, France. In 2016 Packham lived in the New Forest with his pet poodle, Scratchy. In 2019 he shared his New Forest home with two miniature poodles, Sid and Nancy (named after Sid Vicious, the bassist with the Sex Pistols, and Sid’s girlfriend).
For over ten years Packham has been in a relationship with Charlotte Corney, owner of the Isle of Wight Zoo, although the couple live separately. He has a step-daughter, Megan McCubbin, a zoologist, who has appeared with him on Springwatch.
In 2009, during an interview with the Radio Times, Packham suggested that the giant panda was too expensive to save and "should be allowed to become extinct" so that funds could be redistributed to protecting other animals and habitats. He made a comment, in September 2009, saying he would "eat the last panda" if doing so would retroactively redistribute the money spent on panda conservation. He later apologised for upsetting people.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2010, Packham said that "The human population is sowing the seeds of a mass extinction event." In 2017, he again expressed this view saying that if every woman could be emancipated, birth rates would drop.
In 2014, he self-funded a film crew to produce a series to highlight the mass killing of migrating birds by hunters in Malta. In April 2017, he was arrested and charged with assault while filming on the Maltese island of Gozo. The case was dismissed after video footage evidence was revealed.
In 2015, Packham signed a letter to MPs to block the proposed changes to amend the Hunting Act 2004. He has worked to raise awareness of the illegal persecution of birds of prey in the UK. He resigned as President of the Hawk and Owl Trust in 2015 citing "Personal differences over ideas of policy". Later in 2015 Packham wrote an article in BBC Wildlife magazine complaining about the silence of many of Britain's leading conservation organisations on the issues of fox hunting, badger culling and hen harrier persecution. This elicited a public response from the Countryside Alliance calling for the BBC to sack him.
Packham organised the writing of a manifesto for UK wildlife in 2018 which he delivered to Downing Street via The Peoples Walk for Wildlife. The event raised awareness of the loss of wildlife in the UK with around 10,000 people turning up to march from Hyde Park to Downing Street.
Packham took part in Veganuary in 2019 and subsequently decided to remain a vegan, following three decades of vegetarianism. Later that year, Packham stated he would no-longer take internal flights and that he had purchased an electric car.
- The Flying Gourmet's Guide (1985)
- Bird Brain of Britain (1988)
- Chris Packham's Wild Shots, Collins and Brown Publishers, (1993) ISBN 1-85585-200-4
- Chris Packham's Back Garden Nature Reserve New Holland Publishers (2001) (Foreword by David Bellamy) ISBN 1-85974-520-2
- Back Garden Nature Reserve (2003) ISBN 1-85605-846-8
- Chris Packham's Wild Side of Town: Getting to Know the Wildlife in Our Towns and Cities New Holland Publishers, (2003) ISBN 1-84330-355-8
- Nature's Calendar (2007) ISBN 0-00-724646-3
- Chris Packham's Nature Handbook (2010) ISBN 1-4053-5526-3
- The Wonder of Birds: nature, art, culture [Norfolk Museums Service] (2014) (Foreword by Chris Packham) ISBN 0-9031-0184-X
- Pets in Portraits by Robin Gibson (2015) (introduction by Chris Packham) ISBN 1855144980
- A Misuse of Nature by Sam Langers (2015) (introduction by Chris Packham)
- Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir Ebury (2016) ISBN 978-1785033483
- Back to Nature: How to Love Life - and Save It Two Roads (2020) ISBN 978-1529350395
- 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.
- Go Wild at Windsor Terry Nutkins and Chris Packham 1988.
- "Chris Packham". Desert Island Discs. 13 October 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- Rees, Caroline. "Chris Packham: a force of nature". SAGA magazine. SAGA. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "BBC Inside Out – South: Presenter profile". BBC. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
- "CHRIS PACKHAM RETURNS TO HIS ROOTS". Hampshire Life. Archant Life Ltd. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- "Past Student – Chris Packham". Tauntons.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "Alumni- Where are they now?". Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- "Biog". Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- Stephen, Bolwell (14 December 2014). "Wandering the Borders of Believability". Take A Picture - Save the Planet. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "Toads". stephenbolwell.com.
- "Nature Detectives". British Films Forever. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- Tim Scoones (18 March 2009). "Springwatch 2009 – new presenter team announced". BBC. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
- "Birdwatching Holidays | Holiday Ideas". www.gambia.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
- "Chris Packham biography". David Foster Management. 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "The Really Wild man grows up". Southern Daily Echo. 19 February 2000. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "Episode 3, 2011/2012, Celebrity Mastermind - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- "Secrets of our Living Planet". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "Hive Alive". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- "Inside The Animal Mind". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "The wonder of animals". BBC 4. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Cats v. Dogs; Which is Best?". BBC. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Natgeo Wild. Earth Live". Archived from the original on 4 July 2017.
- "Jaguar Land Rover tests immersive, adventure podcasts to drive a Discovery brand narrative into other cars". The Drum. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
- "Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me". 17 October 2017. BBC Television. Retrieved 17 October 2017. Missing or empty
- Wollaston, Sam (18 October 2017). "Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me review – a brave, ballsy film". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- "The Real T rex with Chris Packham". bbc.co.uk. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- "BBC Two Chris Packham: In Search of the Lost Girl". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Watch Yellowstone Live on National Geographic". Watch Yellowstone Live on FOX. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
- "Blue Planet Live". BBC One. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
- "Primates". BBC One. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
- "Waterhole: Africa's Animal Oasis". BBC Two. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
- "BBC Studios Natural History Unit announces new six-part series Chris Packham's Animal Einsteins". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
- Tim Scoones (18 March 2009). "Springwatch Blog: Springwatch 2009 – new presenter team announced". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "British Trust for Ornithology". Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "Chris Packham - Charites". Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "Hawk and Owl Trust". Hawk and Owl Trust. 22 April 2010. Archived from the original on 8 November 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- "Brent Lodge Bird and Wildlife Trust". Brentlodge.org. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "Population Matters welcomes Chris Packham as new patron". Archived from the original on 2 February 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
- "Africat". Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "Woolston Eyes – Bird Reserve and Conservation Group". December 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "The Humane Research Trust". Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "The Fox Project - About Us". The Fox Project. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "ORCA - Partners". ORCA. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "The Seahorse Trust - Chris Packham". The Seahorse Trust. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "The NatureWatch Foundation - Our Patrons". The NatureWatch Foundation. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "Raptor Rescue Patrons". Raptor Rescue. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "Patrons - Birding For All". Birding For All. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "National Autistic Society. Chris Packham, television presenter and naturalist, is our charity's new ambassador (16 October 2017)". The National Autistic Society. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- "Home - Wild Justice". Wild Justice.
- Pitches, Adrian. "'Science geek' picks up BTO medal". British Birds. 104 (1): 52. ISSN 0007-0335.
- "Chris Packham receives honorary doctorate in Southampton". BBC News. 19 December 2013.
- "Chris Packham is voted Conservation Hero of the Year". BirdGuides. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "The Ivory Game Game Wins Wild Screen Golden Panda Award". Wildscreen. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "Springwatch presenter Chris Packham honoured with lifetime achievement award at Gree Oscars". Radio Times. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "Arts and Humanities Research Council - UK's Favourite Nature Book". ahrc.ukri.org. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me wins 2018 BPG Award for best single documentary". www.chrispackham.co.uk. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Chris Packham awarded Honorary Doctorate from Royal Holloway". 17 July 2018.
- "No. 62507". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 29 December 2018. p. N9.
- Hagan, Pat (21 October 2014). "'My dizziness got so bad I feared it was a brain tumour,' says Chris Packham". Daily Express. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
- McLean, Craig (18 May 2016). "Chris Packham on coping with Asperger's, grief and why he owes his dogs his life". RadioTimes.com. Intermediate Media Company. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Press Association (30 April 2016). "Wildlife presenter Chris Packham tells of struggle with depression". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "A Really Wild Life - A Talk with Chris Packham". Great British Life. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
- Cassells, Sarah (25 May 2010). "Why Chris Packham is wild about Norfolk". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
- Harley, Nicola (30 April 2016). "Wildlife presenter Chris Packham reveals how his pets' deaths made him suicidal". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- Silverman, Laura; Pritchard, Emma-Louise (2 November 2020). "Chris Packham's home is a riot of character and colour". Country Living. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
- "Episode 2". Springwatch. Series 16. Episode 2. 26 May 2020. BBC Two. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
- "BBC Two's Springwatch announces guest presenters, Steve Backshall, Ellie Harrison, Gordon Buchanan and Megan McCubbin - Media Centre". BBC. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
- "Autumnwatch's Chris Packham: Let Pandas Die". Radio times. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Hands off the pandas". The Independent. 23 September 2009.
- "Chris Packham gets really wild over I'm a Celebrity". The Guardian. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Chris Packham's Open Letter to Ant and Dec Calling For an End to I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here". The Independent. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Chris Packham Slams I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here". MSN Entertainment. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Chris Packham says control the population to save wildlife". The Daily Telegraph. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Population Matters. Chris Packham speaks out on impact of population". Population Matters. 11 January 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Chris Packham: UK too overcrowded as uneducated women must be taught to stop having babies". The Sunday Express. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Why I'm fighting to stop the slaughter of Malta's wild birds". The Guardian. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Chris Packham charged in Malta after bird hunt confrontation". The Guardian. 19 April 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Fox Hunting Ban: SNP says it will defeat Conservative plan to relax ban". The Independent. 13 July 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Chris Packham to speak out against the illegal persecution of birds of prey". RSPB. 31 July 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Hawk and Owl Trust lose Chris Packham and court controversy". Birdguides. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Countryside Alliance urges BBC to sack Chris Packham in conservation row". The Guardian. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Thousands march on Whitehall to call for end to 'war on wildlife'". The Guardian.
- Packham, Chris (3 February 2019). "I did Veganuary, and now I'm staying vegan. Here's what I've learned so far | Chris Packham". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
- "HS2: Chris Packham launches legal challenge to rail link". BBC News. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
- "Chris Packham loses bid for legal challenge over HS2". BBC News. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
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