When ‘Springwatch’ returns to our screens in a few weeks, keen-eyed viewers will notice something a bit different.
The popular nature-watch series is moving locations - to the National Trust estate of Sherborne, in the Cotswolds, including a group of working farms, and a far less controlled environment.
Presenter Chris Packham is extremely enthusiastic about the move, calling it a “dose of reality” for those wanting to improve and preserve the national landscape.
“We partition our expectations, so if we want to see art, we go to a gallery,” he said yesterday at the programme launch. “If we want to see history, we go to a museum, we’ve got ourselves into a state of mind where if we want to see wildlife, we go to a nature reserve. That depresses me, we should have an expectation of seeing wildlife throughout the country.
“What we’re doing (at Sherborne) is explore a far more abundant environment. What we’re doing here is explore the bigger picture for a dose of reality of what the UK countryside is about, look at it very critically, and what’s clear from early observations is that there are things that are very good, which is why we chose to go there, there is wildlife there, but also at the broader countryside to say, this is how we’re going to make it work, this is how it’s failing, and this is what we can do to make the entire landscape better for wildlife. That’s a challenge we need to rise to.
Everything else will stay the same with presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan returning to duty, along with Martin Hughes-Games and newbie Gillian Burke.
Regular viewers need not worry about the topics, either, with some old favourites keeping their starring role. “We never give up on our blue tits,” says Michaela Strachan.
Fellow presenter Martin Hughes-Games explains: “These are working areas, and they’ve had a bumpy time getting permission from the farmers. It’s not all wonderful practice for wildlife, it’s more real. It’ll be very different, but hopefully the characters we all know and love will be there.”
‘Springwatch’ will return on Monday 29 May, and run to Thursday 15 June on BBC Two.