Entertainment

Michaela Strachan ‘disappointed’ over wildlife show cuts amid climate crisis

Last year the show was cut due to major cost-saving across the broadcaster.

Television presenter Michaela Strachan
Michaela Strachan Television presenter Michaela Strachan (Jeff Spicer/PA)

Wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan has said the team were “disappointed” by the cuts to the Watches nature series by the BBC as she feels the shows are “way more important” than others as the world faces the climate crisis.

Last year the broadcaster cut Autumnwatch from the nature series line-up, which charts the fortunes of British wildlife during the seasons, due to major cost-saving across the broadcaster.

Instead the BBC said it would direct more money to sister programmes Springwatch and Winterwatch, with the latter also being reduced down from its typical two-week run to one when it returns to BBC Two from January 16.

Reflecting on the reduction, Strachan said: “You’ve got the best of eight shows in four, so Winterwatch should be really rich and varied.

“You’ve got to be optimistic, haven’t you? I’m 57 and I’ve been doing telly since I was 20 so I understand how these things work, but all of us feel this is more than a job.

“We were so disappointed because although we don’t get the same viewing figures as something like I’m A Celebrity, we’re way more important. People need this programme.”

Chris Packham
Chris Packham legal challenge to PM Chris Packham (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Strachan joins Chris Packham, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams on the new series, which will have an overarching theme of resilience and renewal.

As the world faces challenges with the climate, the show will aim to “uplift and empower” viewers on how they can make a difference.

“Our viewers are caring people who want to make a difference but don’t always know how, so we’ll offer ideas for citizen science or celebrate unsung heroes, whether they’re rewilding estates or putting up a few nest boxes,” Strachan said.

Radio Times cover
Radio Times cover Radio Times cover

Fellow presenter Packham, 62, said he feels it is important to remind viewers that there is still action they can take.

“There was a time when we ignored the bigger picture, but we integrate climate breakdown and biodiversity loss into most of our conversations now,” he said.

“If I thought all was lost, I’d probably get drunk in a gutter, but we have the capacity to restore and recover, reinstate and reintroduce.

“Our job is to motivate that to happen and engage our audience, so that when creatures and habitats are under threat, people will stand up and fight for them.”

The Watch programmes are broadcast live from locations around the country and rely on dozens of crew and hidden cameras operated remotely.

The series began in 2005, with the success of Springwatch prompting the BBC to commission a one-off special of Autumnwatch, which became a full series in 2006.

Winterwatch began in 2012. It will return to BBC Two from Tuesday January 16 at 8pm for four nights.

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