Michaela Strachan reveals her winter adventures in BBC2’s Under the Christmas Sky led her to a new theory about Santa’s best-known reindeer…
There’s not a Christmas pudding in sight when Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan team up for BBC2’s joyously outdoorsy festive special, Chris and Michaela Under the Christmas Sky.
Determined to witness the wonders of the winter skies Chris and Michaela head to the Arabian Desert to follow the fabled Star of Bethlehem and brave freezing conditions in Norway in the hope of witnessing the magic of the Northern Lights. They also get up close with Oryx, camels, huskies, and reindeer – which leads to Michaela developing an interesting, new theory about Santa’s pal Rudolph!
Here Michaela Strachan tells us more…
Was the show fun to film?
Michaela Strachan: “It was such good fun and a real adventure. The skies and wildlife are amazing, and Chris and I had a real laugh – some of the things that happen are hysterical!”
What tickled you most?
MS: “Camping in the desert in Jordan was hilarious. Chris hates camping – and his tent blew down! He nearly fell off his camel too! When we went sledging in Norway I went flying around a corner and was dragged along in the snow! When Chris tried to avoid me he also came off his sledge. We weren’t hurt, it was just very funny!”
What else did you do in Jordan?
MS: “We saw the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter. It was romantic being in the desert, thinking about the Three Wise Men. They possibly came all the way from Persia following this star that probably was a conjunction. It was also really interesting staying with the Bedouin – they cook food on metal pots in the sand with charcoal. I’m not sure Chris found any of it romantic!”
Was Norway an interesting contrast to the Arabian Desert?
MS: “I loved Norway. The light is beautiful there because they only get about five hours of daylight. [In the past] Chris has gone to great efforts to see the Northern Lights but been very unlucky. This was a challenging shoot but we saw an absolutely stunning display of the Northern Lights!”
What wildlife did you see?
MS: “We saw Arabian Oryx in Jordan. After they became extinct [in the wild] in the 1970s, the World Wildlife Fund set up a breeding project and Oryx have gone from ‘extinct’ to ‘vulnerable’. It’s an amazing success story. In Norway we saw sea eagles and learned how the Sami tribe look after their wild reindeer.”
You’ve developed a theory about Rudolph the Reindeer…
MS: “They reckon that only females keep their antlers in the winter, the males drop them. So if Rudolph had antlers, Rudolph was a female reindeer!”
Chris & Michaela – Under the Christmas Sky is on BBC2 at 9pm on Sunday 23 December 2018.