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Springwatch 2009 - new presenter team announced

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Tim Scoones Tim Scoones | 11:07 UK time, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Welcome back to Springwatch in 2009 ! We are full steam ahead with preparations for this year's Springwatch, due out in late May, and - boy! - didn't spring arrive in a hurry this year after a "proper" winter for all of us?!

Today we have announced the new presenter line-up for the series. We are all really excited to welcome Chris Packham into the Springwatch family, and to see our producer colleague Martin Hughes Games, step out from behind the camera into the on screen team. This is what we have released to the press today :

This Spring Chris Packham joins Simon King and Kate Humble as co-presenter of BBC Two's popular natural history series Springwatch and Autumnwatch. Find out more about Chris in the video below.

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And former Springwatch producer Martin Hughes-Games makes his debut in front of the camera as he joins the presenting team.

Martin Hughes-Games

Chris and Martin join the existing presenters Simon King, Kate Humble and Gordon Buchanan when Springwatch returns to BBC Two in late May this year. The moves follow Bill Oddie's decision to take a break from the programme earlier this year.

Zoology graduate Chris began his career at the BBC in 1985 as a presenter of The Really Wild Show. He has worked in television as a natural history broadcaster for 22 years, on 75 series and over 500 programmes, being most recently seen in Nature's Calendar and Nature's Top 40 (BBC Two). Chris is active in many wildlife conservation bodies, he is Vice President of the RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Butterfly Conservation Trust and The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, and is President of the Bat Conservation Trust, The London Wildlife Trust, and The Hampshire Ornithological Society.

Martin is also a Zoology graduate and has over 30 years' experience working on the BBC's natural history programmes. Most recently he has been a producer on Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Shetland Diaries With Simon King (BBC Two).
Emma Swain, Head of Knowledge Commissioning, says:
"I'm delighted Chris is bringing his in-depth knowledge and presenting skills to the team. And it's great that having made such and important contribution to these programmes behind the scenes we're able to share Martin's experience with the viewers."

Chris Packham says: "To be asked to be the new presenter of Springwatch and Autumnwatch was a dream come true and I hope to make a real contribution to the team."

Martin Hughes-Games says: "It will be a real challenge swapping life behind the camera to life in front of it, but I am really looking forward to it."

Kate Humble says:"Chris and Martin are both great communicators and real experts on wildlife. I am looking forward to working with them immensely."

Tim Scoones, Executive Producer, Springwatch and Autumnwatch, says: With a new presenter team in place we're raring to go for the new series of Springwatch."

Chris Packham - Biography
Born in 1961 Chris Packham studied Zoology at Southampton University. On graduating he met wildlife filmmaker Stephen Bullwell and trained with him as a camera man. Chris's big break came in 1985 when he began working as a presenter on the BBC's children's TV series The Really Wild Show. After seven years presenting the show Chris set-up his own TV company - Head Over Heels TV - where he worked on many wildlife shows for ITV, CH4, Animal Planet, National Geographic and the BBC. More recently Chris has returned to his first love, working on and presenting wildlife TV shows, and he has recently been seen on BBC Two presenting Nature's Calendar and Nature's Top 40. One of Chris's principle aims is to enthuse new audiences (particularly the younger audience) about wildlife.

Martin Hughes-Games - Biography
Martin (52) graduated in Zoology in 1978 with a 1st Class honours from Reading University, and has worked in television for 30 years. He is passionate about wildlife and an active conservationist - even going so far as planting his own wood. He has been a member of the Springwatch family since 2006 and his most recent Series Producer credits include: Shetland Diaries with Simon King (BBC Two) and Incredible Animal Journeys (BBC One, 2006).

The story is already being reported in the Daily Mirror and on the BBC Norfolk website

No doubt you have all heard that our dear friend Bill Oddie is suffering a bout of depression at the moment. I am sure you will join the whole Springwatch team in wishing Bill a full and speedy recovery.

Watch this space for a new look website (in production now) as well as our new look TV show! We have lots of exciting plans for new themes and stories, but being Springwatch, even we ourselves are not exactly sure what's going to be in it because nature writes the script and two months is a long time in the Natural World, especially at this time of year !

I hope you take full advantage of the spring over the coming weeks - get out there and enjoy our glorious wildlife. Nothing quite beats the UK in the spring, does it ?

More soon.

Tim

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