Chris Packham


An Audience with Chris Packham: Fingers in the Sparkle Jar 

Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne. (Sunday 9th April, 2017)

Naturalist and conservation campaigner Chris Packham learned early on that he wasn’t like others boys. Growing up in the 1960s he remembers seeing the poster for the film One Million Years BC.

As he stared at the image of sex-symbol Raquel Welch dressed only in animal furs all he could focus on was what was happening behind her  - cave-men doing battle with dinosaurs.

When he eventually saw the film he was bitterly disappointed. “I wanted paleontological accuracy.” he says. Sadly for young Chris it wasn’t to be. Hammer Films simply weren’t into the finer details of natural history.

The odd boy who enjoyed nothing more than his own company and got on better with birds and animals than he ever did with humans would of course grow up to become a leading TV presenter best known for the BBC’s Springwatch.  He is also a tireless campaigner for animal rights.

In discussion with interviewer, fellow naturalist Stephen Moss, he talked about his life and career. Making your way in TV is not easy when when you are aspergic like Chris and struggle to deal with human interaction and the distractions of social interplay.

Somehow he’s nailed it though and has trained himself to cope with situations he still finds difficult - even the telly world’s addiction to hugs and air-kisses.

He talked about his on-going fight against fox-hunting, badger culling, the demonisation of beavers and his current campaign against the illegal mass killing of raptors like hen harriers. There was also much discussion about his remarkable memoir of childhood Fingers in the Sparkle Jar with anecdotes that included a tale of how he ruined one of his mum’s saucepans while boiling a dead snake and how he once ate a tadpole just to see what it tasted like.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2022