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Story Developers: The Cray-Z-Gang

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The Mole | 19:16 UK time, Thursday, 4 June 2009

story_developers.jpgThere are, I reckon, three kinds of Springwatch fans and the way to tell them part is to ask them this very simple question: "Who's your favourite on Springwatch?"

In the first group are those people who will reply with the name of an animal. The otter perhaps. Or the kestrel. In the next group are those people who will reply with the name of a presenter. So Kate, Chris, Simon, Martin or Gordon.

And then you have the third group who have a favourite but don't know their name, and the reason they don't know their name is that these are the die-hard Messageboarders. These are people, who - despite having to eat, drink, work and sleep like the rest of us - manage to spend 26 hours of the day in front of their computer screens, watching the live pictures on the Springwatch website, and commenting. For some members of this group, it's the story developers who are the stars. But nobody knows their names... until now.

Kristina, Gemma and Robert are on the second shift today which means that they start at 2pm and go on until midnight, but it has its rewards:

"What I love," says Robert, "is the fact that we get to be film makers. We have no real camera training or anything but when I watch the show later on I can see where I've panned or pulled focus. We're making little films that get seen by thousands and thousands of people."

And there are all sorts of people out there.

"At the moment there's a discussion going on called Little Chris's Fanclub," says Gemma. "Some of the people watching the otter camera at night have seen a white-clawed crayfish doing its thing and have started a crayfish appreciation club called the Cray-Z-Gang. At the moment they are debating whether anyone can join or whether you have to have seen it first."

But it isn't just about watching and listening to the animals. In the first week someone told the story developers that they could hear a party going on in a nearby field. Then someone watching the blackbird stream heard the crew singing Happy Birthday all the way over in the production tent. Rather than asking for quiet they sent in a birthday message. And it's not all one way traffic either.

"The other night things were going a bit slowly so we asked if anyone could help us with a crossword clue. Sure enough, they got the answer and sent it back to us. After that they were asking us is there was anything else they could get us: wine, pizza, the Welsh rugby team."
And did they get any wine, pizza or Welsh rugby players?

"No, but it's nice to be asked," says Robert, tucking into his bag of birdseed.


  • 1. At 8:32pm on 04 Jun 2009, wieight wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 8:50pm on 04 Jun 2009, twofat wrote:

    While walking on the cliff path above Scott's Bay in Llansteffan at about 7.30pm on June 4th, we heard the cuckoo across the bay at

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  • 3. At 9:21pm on 04 Jun 2009, superwinnie09 wrote:

    Re:- Cuckoo

    A cuckoo was heard at Dawyck Gardens near Peebles, Borders on Saturday 30th May at 4-30pm. The first this year.

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  • 4. At 9:21pm on 04 Jun 2009, PoppyFlax wrote:

    Anyone can join Little Chris's Fan Club! Whether you've seen him or not, all you need is a heart big enough to love the little fella!

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  • 5. At 9:32pm on 04 Jun 2009, grebelet wrote:

    odd, they don't look like otters?

    maybe they are otters in human suits. egads, these aquatic mammals are clever.

    lovely to see the swt getting their credit.

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  • 6. At 10:43pm on 04 Jun 2009, paulandkerry wrote:

    Hi, can I just commend Chris on his ability to slip in Smith's references during his pieces to camera, particularly impressed with 'a vicar in a tutu' (don't know how you managed that one!).

    Can I just say I find Chris 'a charming man'!

    Well done, keep it up.

    Kerry and Paul x

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  • 7. At 00:30am on 05 Jun 2009, TazzieYorks wrote:

    We're starting to worry, as little Chris is currently M.I.A.

    The otters and fish have become rather jealous of him, now that he seems to be getting more column inches (messageboard-wise) than them. Do they have anything to do with his mysterious disappearance?!

    Time will tell!.....

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  • 8. At 11:08am on 05 Jun 2009, OhSigh wrote:

    /waves hello to Kristina, Gemma and Robert :-)

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  • 9. At 11:31am on 05 Jun 2009, LazyRizzo wrote:

    I have seen Little Chris but not very recently, as mentioned, he seems to have disappeared. I wonder what Big Chris thinks of his little namesake?!

    If asked my "favourite" on SW - regarding the animals, it changes day by day. Presenter-wise it has to be Gordon and Simon - as cute, cuddly, and gorgeous as any baby animal - only maybe less fluffy than some.

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  • 10. At 6:47pm on 05 Jun 2009, al4kez wrote:

    Sending a big HELLO to Stine - you superstar!!

    Loving springwatch 2009

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  • 11. At 10:03am on 08 Jun 2009, lizziebits wrote:

    I couldn't make it to a 'Dirty Weekend' due to a prior engagement with a theme park (plastic bricks!) just outside of Windsor. But the birdwatching that I love came to me in the form of a red kite!! Just one, soaring quite low at times over the park, regularly being harried by the resident jackdaws and crows. Even the kids got excited. Didn't know where else to post this so you got the pleasure.

    Keep up the grand work you guys. xx

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  • 12. At 4:42pm on 08 Jun 2009, PoppyFlax wrote:

    STOP PRESS Little Chris Update: After a rather worrying Saturday evening where communications with Ottersbridge went down, the SW team worked tirelessly to restore visual contact, and last night Little Chris was seen again, not once, not twice....but five times in all! In fact it seems highly likely that he brought a little crayfish friend along with him last night. Speculation is mounting as to whether they're more than Just Good Friends. This afternoon has seen much work on the Little Chris Fanclub clubhouse, and all new members are welcome to visit tonight at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbsn/F10211075?thread=6643624&skip=0&show=20 to see if the little fella turns up again.

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  • 13. At 11:19am on 11 Jun 2009, Oysterbay wrote:

    Little Chris and the Cray Z Gang warmly invite you to join us at our "CampChris" Leavers Ball tonight. We will be very sad to leave our dear Campsite it has been home to the Crazy Gang for two weeks, we will all shed some tears tonight when we have to leave little Chris behind (Pause for blowing of nose). We have plenty of food and drinks, including several cases of Dumb Peregrine,a firework display (yes, we have sparklers)!! so do come and join us at our virtual "CampChris & The Cray Z Gang"" Leavers Ball, somewhere in deepest darkest Pensthorpe Woods.

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