Chris Packham (Part One): Deep in the New Forest with the Really Wild Showman

Chris Packham is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable faces on British Television. He’s been a mainstay of the BBC’s Natural History programming for nearly 40 years. Alongside this commitment he also currently serves as President for the Bat Conservation Trust and Vice President for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Butterfly Conservation, and the RSPCA. In this two-part discussion, David and Chris walk through the New Forest (the site of both their childhoods), and discuss how Chris came to prominence on Television, and then balanced his role there alongside his creative passions and his environmental concerns and campaigns.

In search of Chris’ favourite Beech, David and Chris set out into the fabric of their lives – the New Forest. In the shade of “…a giant green cathedral, bathed in green light” they discuss the pressures facing one of Britain’s favourite national parks, the fact that even Belgium has a wolf-pack, and how over-grazing in the New Forest needs to be resolved for a healthy ecosystem.

Closer to home, the big questions are asked: Should Chris’ father have helped him boil the head of a Pilot Whale? Should Chris’ own parenting skills have involved putting wasps on his step-daughter Megan McCubbin’s nose and then making her dissect Roadkill? And should Chris, at 61, climb the 30 foot into a Scots Pine tree to examine an abandoned Osprey nest whilst recording a podcast?!

The driving force behind Chris is an obvious one: “I’ve got to do something, I’m running out of time; I don’t want to leave this world in a worse place than I inherited it.” But where does Chris stand on the effectiveness of modern non-violent protest? Is it too little too late? Or is something more dramatic required?

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