Vomiting, rabbit deaths, almost being set on fire, and heroic Simon the Stickleback fish… Springwatch star Michaela Strachan reveals why the BBC2 nature show is always unpredictable!
What’s planned for the new three-week run of Springwatch?
“This year we are hopefully doing marsh harriers, golden eagle diaries and a burrow camera on baby rabbits. There’s also filming of meadow ants, beehives and how the dawn chorus in Birmingham has modified because the birds are in a city… but who knows!”
So, expect the unexpected?
“What I love about Springwatch is some of the cameras we’ve planned will work and some won’t. So we’re not nervous at all about there being absolutely nothing to film!”
You may get another Simon the Stickleback fish surprise…
“Who could have predicted Stickleback Si? He became a hero and ended up with a Twitter account and song on YouTube! He’s like the Leicester City of Springwatch. We just put an underwater cam in to see – we didn’t even know if he’d stick around!”
What are the worst things to have happened on Springwatch over the years?
“About two years ago we filmed baby rabbits. Unusually, they were nesting above ground in a stack of hay. Unfortunately they were pecked to death by crows and magpies. We had cameras live on them and on the Internet, and it was pretty hideous. We certainly don’t Disney-fy what goes on in nature. You have to show everything, because it’s nature.”
Do you ever want to intervene?
“It depends. When we saw chicks being taken by snakes I found it fascinating, but I did find the rabbits upsetting. Usually the only time we intervene is if it’s a problem us humans have created – once we moved a rabbit from a car park because we were the ones driving in and out.”
What have been your most challenging presenting moments on Springwatch so far?
“Once the wheels came off really badly when we fell off air. Chris Packham and I were talking and suddenly realised there was no sound in our earpieces. We didn’t know what was going on so we keep on talking – to ourselves!
“Then In last year’s Winterwatch Chris had a virus and started vomiting before a show!
“And another time, during a storm we were doing piece about a golden eagle and a fox, it looked like a fire behind me and Chris was trying to set us alight. Of course, we were very British and calmly carried on!”
What else can viewers expect from this year’s series?
“We’re proudly pushing the BBC’s Do Something Great Campaign and focusing on Do Something Great For Nature. This includes a lot of volunteering projects, beach clean-ups, planting trees – I worked at the RSPCA centre as a volunteer – and encouraging people to volunteer. How often do you hear someone say ‘Look at that! Why don’t they clean that up?’ Sometimes we have to become ‘they’. No one else is going to do it. Let’s take an interest in our own environment and help it.”
The new three-week run of Springwatch premieres on May 30 on BBC2. As well as filming from the RSPB Minsmere nature reserve for the third year running, presenters Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games will access a wealth of wildlife from across the UK.
Also on BBC2 at 6.30pm Chris Packham hosts Springwatch Unsprung in a new slot before the main Springwatch show this year. Celebrity guests include Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, comic Ed Byrne and singer Will Young.