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The circus comes to town!

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The Mole | 19:13 UK time, Wednesday, 20 May 2009

So it's my first day at Pensthorpe, the sun is shining, and here is my first impression of Springwatch: the circus has come to town! (Or to the countryside anyhow...)

studio.JPGWhat you won't be able to see on your telly this Monday is that Pensthorpe is not just overflowing with wildlife - it is also, in places, packed full of Portacabins, trailers, marquees, tents, and trailers.

I have never seen so many different pieces of technology in my life, nor heard quite so many words I didn't understand. Of course that would be understandable if those words were the scientific names for the animals on the nature reserve, but in fact they were words for the baffling technology all around me. In short, Springwatch is an incredible conjunction of the completely natural and the completely unnatural, all designed to bring you together with wildlife.

And talking of wildlife, I've found some! While no one was looking I went in search of the famous sofa ... but had to leap a number of hurdles on the way. First of all, there are the dive-bombing swallows that are nesting in the buildings next to the studio. As soon as you're within ten feet they cut through the windows and skim over your head like a squadron of not-so-crack-shot kamikaze pilots.

sofa.JPGBut the swallows outside the studio were the least of my worries. Foremost on my mind was surviving the studio itself! For goodness sake, I've seen Roman ruins in better condition than that studio. If it wasn't for the ivy holding the bricks together I have no doubt it would have fallen down altogether.

And yet, and yet... having survived looming disaster, there was still the manky old sofa itself to deal with. As Chris Packham just said in out first team meeting: "I'm pretty keen on hygiene and a bit OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] so the thought of that sofa is giving me some serious problems."

All of which leads me to believe that no matter how much those presenters are being paid to sit there and entertain us, it probably isn't enough.

Looking on the bright side, however, this year's Springwatch definitely has more audience involvement than any Springwatch before. So if the studio does fall down, you may be able to carry on by yourselves for a fair old while...


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