All New Autumnwatch 2012 - live on TV, Red Button and Online

Monday 1 October 2012, 11:51

Holly Spearing Holly Spearing Series Producer

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We're delighted to announce that Autumnwatch returns at the end of October with an exciting new format and location, planned to capture all the best wildlife action of autumn. As if that's not enough cause for celebration, Autumnwatch will be followed by the brand new live series, Winterwatch, in January.

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Martin Hughes-Games and guests will be following all the wildlife stories as they happen, broadcasting live from our new location. And for the first time, Autumnwatch will be based in Scotland, at one of the best places to showcase the beauty and drama of this dynamic and diverse season. There'll be 4 live shows on BBC TWO from Tuesday 30th October until Friday 2nd November, with Autumnwatch Unsprung on Friday, and our live cameras will be on BBC Red Button and the Web around the clock.

Our New Location
So what about Autumnwatch's new location? We'll be based at the Aigas Field Centre, in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. It's one of the finest areas in the country to experience autumn wildlife, and we'll be right at the heart of the action. Nestled in a wooded glen and surrounded by dramatic mountains, Aigas is home to some of the UK's most iconic animals, from highland specialists to familiar garden wildlife. In the forest, there are red squirrels, pine martens, red deer and crested tits. Birds of prey cruise over the moorland, while foxes and small mammals hunt in the undergrowth, and a loch is home to a family of beavers. We can't wait to show you!

The cameras are being prepared as we speak and with many mammals only active at night, our team will have infra-red, thermal and live mini-cameras to provide a unique insight into their rarely-glimpsed nocturnal lives. The latest macro camera technology will reveal the fascinating, hidden worlds of tiny creatures that normally go unnoticed - we'll truly have autumn covered from the canopy to the leaf litter.

Of course, the wildlife always writes the script, and we've learnt to expect the unexpected on Autumnwatch! But we're hoping to bring you the following:-

  • Beavers - for the first time in the UK, Autumnwatch aims to show exclusive, intimate views from a live camera inside a beaver's lodge as they prepare for winter.
  • Pine martens - these secretive and little known creatures are notoriously elusive but Autumnwatch will have a privileged opportunity to see them up close.
  • Mammal stump - back by popular demand: the mammal stump is a hollowed out tree trunk with embedded cameras and offers a unique perspective on the dramatic lives of small mammals.
  • Buzzards, red squirrels and foxes. In autumn all these species employ different feeding strategies as they prepare for winter. Scavenging, hoarding or stealing - we'll be following their every move.

Live Online and on BBC Red Button
This year, there's more opportunity than ever to watch the action. The remote wildlife cameras switch on on Sunday 28th October, before the series airs on TV.

We now have an Olympic line up of platforms to watch the cameras on - BBC Red Button, the Web, iPads, iPhones, android phones and tablets. So now you can stay tuned to the action, where ever you are.

We're also excited to announce that this year, for 17 hours a day, we'll have live commentary on the live cameras from wildlife experts and broadcasters Chris Sperring and Euan McIlwraith. (Between midnight and 7am the cameras will still be live, with text commentary - apparently presenters need to sleep.)

As always, there are plenty of ways for all of you to get involved.

The Autumnwatch team will be checking all these regularly and we're looking forward to seeing your pictures, receiving your questions, and finding out about your own experiences of autumn.

So that's the big news about the new series, and the new location. But that's just the start - from our base in Scotland we'll be following autumn across the UK, and the team are already out and about filming. The autumnal highlights include an in-depth wild diary, showcasing the beauty of the UK's most iconic landscapes, and revealing the new science and behaviour of some of our best loved animals. We'll be posting more news about all of this soon. Also, look out for a blog from our very own Martin Hughes-Games, who'll be talking about how everyone can get involved in Autumnwatch Unsprung.

And if that wasn't enough, after Autumnwatch, we'll be telling you all about our brand new series, Winterwatch - live for 4 days in January.

We hope you are all as excited about the new look Autumnwatch and Winterwatch as we are!

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  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Sam could be Dish of the Day.... melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

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    Comment number 42.

    Thanks for all your comments about the new look Autumnwatch and Winterwatch. We think by having two live events, one at the end of October and another in January we’ll be able bring you the best of the seasons in more detail than ever before.

    Autumnwatch has always been 8 programmes since it launched seven years ago, and we’ll still be showing 8 programmes but split between October and January. In this latest evolution of the series, we’ve picked two weeks that highlight the best of both these spectacular seasons.

    Autumnwatch is timed to be right in the thick of the autumn wildlife action at our stunning new location. And we’ll be back in January for Winterwatch, something you – and we - have talked about for years. Winterwatch gives us the opportunity to follow the animals we’ll meet in Autumnwatch through the toughest time of the year, and showcase different species, different wild behaviour and new spectacles. We hope you will be as excited as we are about the series.

    One of the new things on Autumnwatch this year is we'll have a network of live cameras, day and night, following animals across the week as they prepare for winter. And these will also be broadcast on BBC Red Button and Online with expert audio commentary about the animal behaviour as it happens.

    We know you would love more Unsprungs but we have never had more than one Unsprung in any one BBC TWO transmission week. And we’re making sure that our Red Button offer is the biggest and best ever. There will be loads of extra-curricular activities for you to enjoy and contribute to.

    Watch this space for more news about the series.

    And really sorry, we're afraid there aren't any BBC messageboards for Autumnwatch this year. We hope that the various social media platforms go some way to plugging the gap. If it's a traditional web forum you are after, then here's a selection of boards that we know a lot of our messageboard users have migrated to.

    Nature UK:


    Yahoo UK Wildlife Group

    Wildlife UK

    Wildlife Britain

    Discover Wildlife (BBC Wildlife Magazine)


    If you are unfamiliar with using messageboards, the Get Safe Online site has some good advice.

    See you on telly in a few weeks.

    Warmest Autumnal regards from the whole team.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Hi Paul, thanks for the info and explanations. However I think the problem most people are having is that this year the entire Autumn programme is condensed into four days, whereas in the past, the same four programmes covered a period of four weeks, far more important at this time of year.

    A nightly broadcast is the perfect format for Springwatch when things move quickly, but not for Autumnwatch.

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    Comment number 44.

    Thank you Paul for your response and for all the information you have provided. Looking forward to the programmes and the Webcams and of course Unsprung.

    And hello everyone hope you're all ok : )

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    Comment number 45.

    Hello Paul and thank you for taking the time to respond to our various comments. I think most of us understand the constraints that you are working under but the point Arch makes is fundamental to the concerns being expressed. It is precisely that the Autumnwatch series is going to be shown over four consecutive days when in the past you have made the point that Autumn is a slow progression taking place over a period of time.

    Of course we're delighted that there will be a Winterwatch and live cameras for us to keep abreast of happenings but it still feels like we're being short changed.
    I'm sure the new location will be amazing and equally sure that all us avid "Watchers" will be there in force....
    Hope some of you who are missing the messageboards will join us on the Naturewatch Forum

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    Comment number 46.

    Could you do some podcasts this time

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    Comment number 47.

    I suspect that it costs less to broadcast live from a particular location on four consecutive nights than to do so on four consecutive weeks on a particular night.

    I don't really have a problem because (like a certain other programme that I'd better not mention) it is dark when AutumnWatch is broadcast live and thus a good deal of the programme is footage obtained, normally in daylight hours, during the preceding week(s). I hope Winterwatch (or any special in late December) will give any important updates of natural events that occur during November at Aigas and elsewhere.

    It looks to me like this may be a good year for autumn leaf colour in mid and late October (if it doesn't get too windy). The colours last year were rather underwhelming I thought.

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    Comment number 48.

    Only 4 days, bit of a disapointment. Still, I suppose the beeb must maintain it's output of cooking programmes and second hand stuff being sold.

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    Comment number 49.

    Hi Paul. I think your answer is very much 'towing the line'. For example, you say that there has only been one Unsprung in any one BBC Two transmission week. Well that is true but you have had an Unsprung tacked onto most of the Autumnwatch programmes and Autumnwatch has only been broadcast once a week! The viewers are being treated as fools. Also, although there will be 24 hour coverage on the Internet and the Red button, there are still many elderly people in this country that are not able to grasp these new fangled technologies (my elderly mother for one). Lastly, yes it is great to have a Winterwatch series but this should be in addition to Autumnwatch and not instead of it! I, like most of the above commentators, really feel the BBC should take our views into account when planning next years broadcasting of Autumnwatch and remember we are the ones paying for the programmes you make and broadcast. Cut out the utter rubbish that we are constantly fed and give us what we want, quality and educational programme making. I would have thought that setting up Autumnwatch is the expensive bit so once everything is read, the actual broadcast is relatively cheap and the more broadcasts made, the cheaper the whole exercise becomes. I hope the BBC will seriously review its position over this and put matters right for Autumn 2013.

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    Comment number 50.

    I couldn't agree more with Ladamark. I feel very much that this a scaling down of the BBC's commitment to Autumn and Springwatch. Yes, it's great to have Winterwatch and I'm looking forward to it but we were promised a Summerwatch special too and that didn't happen. I do feel, as Littlejojo said, that we are being short changed. The absence of a messageboard is also very disappointing. On a positive note though, I would say the Naturewatch forum is a great place for those who are missing the Autumnwatch message board too.

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    Comment number 51.

    I love the Springwatch/autumn watch series - just wish it could be on every week - there is always news in the world of wildlife and nature.... always change, for good and bad...

    looking forward to Autumnwatch

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    Comment number 52.

    Glad to hear that Autumn watch is back, but really sad to hear it is only on for four days with just one Unsprung. Even though winter watch is on in January Autumn watch was the one I was looking forward to seeing on these long nights.

    Good luck to the team, bring it on!!!!!

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    Comment number 53.

    I feel that if Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter Watch was on 'nearly all the time' it would become routine and lose some of its appeal.

    Also, we live in a not especially large nation (consisting of islands and not joined to a large continent) and one which lacks some of the riveting forms of wildlife found in some other nations. Thus it might become difficult to constantly unearth new 'stories' and new 'angles' on the creatures and lifeforms around us, including the familiar that many have seen and the unfamiliar including those species that few people have managed to see or that many have failed even to notice. I do think the programme has increased its emphasis on science and natural history, which has added to the beauty and drama of what has sometimes been filmed (whether 'live' or not).

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    Comment number 54.

    Am I missing something here??????? Seriously are there only going to be 4 shows, or is that just 4 live shows and the rest are not????? Very, very gutted about this, been looking forward to 3 weeks of Autumnwatch since SW finished:-( Sob:'-(

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    Comment number 55.

    At what time will the program air?
    It is too bad that Autumn Watch is only on for four days. These seasonal programs were always well done and interesting. Unfortunately, the BBC is history. It has, for the most part, turned into the Boring Broadcast Corp.

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    Comment number 56.

    I'm sure the new AW series will be as good as always and location, presenters and team will all be great but please can we stop pretending that it's going to be bigger and's obviously a victim of cut-backs.... why else the loss of message boards, the dramatically reduced run and the wonderfully refreshing Unsprung almost gone completely. I fail to understand why the programming commitment of the BBC is to such lightweight shows and ongoing, long since past their sell by date soaps. Sorry if this is yet another moan but have no idea how else we can get our views expressed, acknowledged or even noticed.

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    Comment number 57.

    I don't understand.

    It is not possible to "capture all the best wildlife action of autumn" over four days. The format of one episode a week but covering many weeks of a season is the only way to acheive this. The joy of autumnwatch in the past is that it starts during barmy weather, passes through early autumnal storms and ends at the start of winter with the early snows. This way you capture the variations of the season and how wildlife adapts to cope with this.

    Very dissapointed to read about the new "exciting" format which sounds more reminiscent of springwatch.

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    Comment number 58.

    Sunday afternoon 7 October. At around 1600 two swans landed and lay down close together in the middle of a field that had potatoes in until a few days ago. I checked with binoculars and then a bird scope to confirm that these were Hooper Swans. I live in Gedney Drove End a few hundred yards from the Wash. Is this an early sighting?

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    Comment number 59.

    I am so looking forward to Autumnwatch. Yes, I would love to have Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter watches everyday 24/7. Quality over quantity, feast and famine! I am so excited! Thank you BBC for giving us such quality stuff. You make the best programmes ever. The world knows it. Thankyou.

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    Comment number 60.

    C,mon you moaning Minnies, we still have Chwis hiding the titles of rubbish music in his comments and playing with his poodles, and at least Jimmy Savile isn't around to leer at Michaela. I know from years of trying that complaining to the BBC about anything is a waste of time.


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