Chris Packham has been entertaining and informing us about wildlife and the natural world for an incredible 30 years.
From being one of the original presenters of The Really Wild Show in 1986 to now hosting Springwatch and Autumnwatch alongside Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games, the 52-year-old is one of our best-known naturalists.
Here are seven things you might not know about the music-loving former punk who has a very famous sister…
1. He’s always had a fascination with nature
As a child growing up in Southampton, Chris was exploring his love of nature from a very young age.
He had all sorts of wild animals in and out of his house that he cared for, including reptiles, foxes, badgers and even a kestrel that he kept as a pet after he took it as a chick from its nest.
Speaking about the bird, he said: “I found a nest. On June 26, 1975, at about 2.15pm, I climbed to it and I removed one of the youngsters illegally.
“I think that what happened as a result of me taking that bird out of the nest was incredibly important and defined the rest of my life. I loved that bird and that was the first time that I learned to love something.”
He also said that when it died he was left speechless for days afterwards.
2. He’s no stranger to controversy
Most recently, the Countryside Alliance called on the BBC to sack Chris for allegedly using his platform at the corporation to air apparent “slanted and extreme” views on animal rights.
However, it’s not the first time he’s found himself in hot water. He’s also said that humans are the species on earth he dislikes the most, spoken in favour of a deer cull in the UK, said that those carrying out the badger cull in 2013 were “brutalist, thugs, liars and frauds” and that Giant pandas should be left to die out with “a degree of dignity” in 2009.
3. He has a famous sister
Chris’s younger sister Jenny Packham is a very successful fashion designer specialising in bridal gowns and special occasion dresses.
She is so renowned that she often creates bespoke outfits for The Duchess of Cambridge. Other famous faces that have worn her designs include Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.
Meanwhile, Chris also has a partner Charlotte Corney – who runs the Isle of Wight zoo – and a step-daughter, Megan.
4. He had ambitions of being an astronaut and ended up a toilet cleaner
He says that his worst job was as a toilet cleaner in Eastleigh in 1977, but that the worst thing anyone ever said to him was in a careers advice meeting the previous year.
“You cannot be an astronaut,” he recalled someone telling him at the time. “I grew up throughout the 1960s and the Apollo programme was on,” he explains. “It was extraordinarily exciting and particularly for young people. I had posters on my wall of the astronauts and the Saturn V rockets.”
5. He’s a seasoned traveller
Travelling “frequently” for work, Chris says that he last had a proper holiday four years ago when he visited Amsterdam with Charlotte. He says that his favourite city is Rome but that his most relaxing destination is his home in the New Forest with Charlotte and his poodles, Itchy and Scratchy. “Because I’m away so much, time at home is precious,” he says.
6. He’s a keen wildlife photographer
Not only does Chris have training as a wildlife cameraman, but he’s also a wildlife photographer. He has even released his own photography book called 100 Things That Caught My Eye. From owls to elephants, big cats to otters, Chris’s pictures are even available to buy on canvas print!
7. He loves music
Chris was a punk in his younger days. His hair was “all sorts of crazy colours” and he put safety pins though his lip, while he also used to play in a band. Meanwhile, he has become known for dropping in song titles and lyrics into his presenting on Springwatch from bands such as The Smiths and Manic Street Preachers.
Springwatch at Easter airs at 9pm on Friday March 25 on BBC Two.
Photo credit: PA / BBC