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Wild about punk Chris

PUBLISHED: 14:18 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 17:30 16 August 2010

So it s farewell Bill Oddie and hello to Chris Packham. Over the years Oddie s crumpled jacket and cord trousers became as familiar in our living rooms as the carpet or the curtains. In his role as co-presenter of BBC TV s Springwatch and Autumnwatch th

So it's farewell Bill Oddie and hello to Chris Packham.

Over the years Oddie's crumpled jacket and cord trousers became as familiar in our living rooms as the carpet or the curtains.

In his role as co-presenter of BBC TV's Springwatch and Autumnwatch the ex-Goodie buried his comedy past and reinvented himself as a serious naturalist. Well, not too serious. Bill's comments frequently had co-presenter Kate Humble giggling and some lighthearted talk of reproduction in the last series brought a sackload of complaints.

People seem divided about Bill. They love him or hate him. I met him once and found him approachable and knowledgeable. Yet on screen his frequent interruptions and apparent reluctance to let Kate get more than a couple of words in at a time could be, well, irritating.

Bill is "taking a break" from the programme that brings natural history into our homes and stimulates thousands of children to take an interest in wildlife.

On May 25 Chris Packham (pictured) will start sharing the studio sofa with Kate for a new BBC2 Springwatch series from Pensthorpe Nature Reserve. The Southampton-born zoology graduate has worked on 75 television series and more than 500 programmes over 22 years.

Most recently he appeared on the BBC 2 programmes Nature's Calendar and Nature's Top 40 after successfully hosting The Really Wild Show, which began in 1985.

Chris, who will be 48 on May 4, developed a fascination with wildlife as a child and admits keeping spiders, beetles and other creepy-crawlies in matchboxes under his bed. After leaving Southampton University he trained as a wildlife cameraman but, like Simon King, emerged from behind the lens to front programmes. An award winning photographer, Chris has Back Garden Nature Reserve and Wild Side of Town among his book credits. He supports charities such as the RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Bat Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust. Oh, did I mention he's a punk rock fan and once collected badger faeces as a hobby ?

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