The beautiful Springwatch presenter Kate Humble discusses shark encounters, Bill Oddie and why we’re going to have a good summer…
What’s it like doing the show without Bill Oddie this year?
“It’s a little discombobulating if I’m honest. I worked with Bill for a very long time and he’s incredibly inspirational. Yes he could be tricky and it was always unpredictable, but working with Bill was never boring!”
What will you miss about him?
“He is absolutely passionate about British wildlife and he is one of the best communicators I know on that subject. Bill set a standard that all of us want to keep and build on. He opened the door on the incredible wildlife of the nation and we would like to carry on getting people involved and enthused by it.”
Did you ever consider leaving the show yourself?
“I thought about it very hard. The right person had to replace Bill and Chris [Packham] is definitely right. He comes from the same place as Bill and they have the same beliefs. We haven’t worked together before, but when first met to be tested to see that we didn’t look weird on the sofa together it felt very natural, so hopefully we’ll do all right!”
We’ve had two bad summers – which species are suffering?
“Bees are a big story; you can’t turn on the news without hearing about the massive decline of honeybees and bumble bees. I think one of the good things about Springwatch is that we chart progress and collect data and this helps us understand what’s going on.”
So what’s new on the show this year?
“Badgers! We’re going to be much closer to them than ever before. We’re also going to be focusing on wildlife gardening. I’ll be building a pond in my garden and showing how easy it is to do simple things to make a difference.”
How can people get the most out of holidaying at home?
“This is something Martin [Hughes-Games] is going to be covering. He’ll be travelling around the nation to show us how to have a wildlife holiday. Wildlife is so often free – why go abroad when you’ve all this beauty here. And it’s so accessible. Wherever you live in the UK there are reserves, parks and beaches.”
Unless the weather’s bad…
“My neighbour’s a farmer and he says he’s never known three bad summers. We’ve just had two so I’m hoping he’s right and this is a good year to stay in Britain!”
What’s the most unforgettable wildlife experience of your career?
“My most memorable wildlife encounter happened off the Isle of Mull when we were filming Springwatch a few years ago. I came quite literally face-to-face with a basking shark! It’s the second biggest fish in the world and nothing has beaten that.”
Do you get recognised a lot?
“I tend to get mums pushing their little boys towards me. They ask me if I’m the Springwatch lady and then tell me things like a hedgehog they’ve seen! It’s absolutely fantastic as that’s exactly what we want to happen. There’s undoubtedly a lot of enthusiasm out there.”
Springwatch returns to BBC Two on Monday, May 25