Chris Packham opens up on ‘fractious relationship’ with his parents ‘We didn’t agree’

Chris Packham calls for support in the Big Butterfly Count

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The latest series of Springwatch came to an end in June and saw presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke, Iolo Williams and Megan McCubbin giving BBC viewers an insight into the wildlife at Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk. Chris has been a firm fixture of Springwatch ever since he joined in 2009 and despite continuing to share his passion for wildlife with viewers, the host recently opened up about his childhood. On Wednesday, July 28, the naturalist will give viewers an insight into his past with his new BBC show, Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me.

The programme will explore Chris’ past as he pays a visit to the Hampshire countryside.

He will also take a look back at some of his memories from his childhood as he details his struggles with mental health and his relationship with his parents.

Speaking ahead of the series in a new interview, the 60-year-old admitted during his teenage years he didn’t agree with his mum and dad on a range of topics including politics and religion.

He said at some points they would barely speak to one another when they went on drives, but he really enjoyed their company.

“I had a very fractious relationship with my mum and dad in my teens when I got into punk rock,” Chris admitted.

“After I’d left home, I’d go to my parents’ home just before it got light and my dad, and I would drive somewhere, barely speaking.”

He continued to Radio Times that “politics” and “religion” were just two topics he and his parents butted heads over, adding that they still “liked each others’ company” and would often go on walks together.

“We would wander around for three or four hours, then I’d go back to wherever I was living.”


The naturalist went on to confess his relationship with his dad was both functional and dysfunctional.

During the latest series of Springwatch, the presenters broadcast live from three different hubs across the UK.

Chris, who has been a staple on the show for over a decade, said in an interview with Country Living that he still gets “really excited” and admitted he would leave the show if he ever got “bored” of it.

He went on to add that after a day of filming, the crew would all go out for drinks afterwards, but he would stay in his room and prep for the next day.

Chris scored himself out of 10 for how well he presented the wildlife programme that day.

“If I’ve only got five out of 10, then I’m pretty mortified,” he confessed. “If I’ve got seven out of 10, then I’m a bit p***ed off.”

He continued to Country Living: “If I give myself eight out of 10, then I just about live with it. But I’m really aiming for 10 on every job that I do.

“When I feel that I haven’t delivered to the best of my ability or people’s expectations, that’s when I get a little bit annoyed.”

 The series, which was filmed live, didn’t take place without a few hiccups along the way.

During one episode, Chris had to step in and apologise to viewers after spotting an error the show made in a previous clip.

As he and his co-host Michaela discussed woodlarks, Chris said: “While we’re on these domestic animals, we have to acknowledge a little mistake that we made last week.

“We did infer in one of our films that horses chew the cuds and they were ruminants.

“Well we knew that they weren’t of course, this was something that was a mishap in the edit when we changed the film around.

Springwatch is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.

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