Chris Packham looking through some binoculars Credit: Dan Burn-Forti

Chris Packham on fearing for his life: “You don’t know who’s round the next corner”

Chris Packham on the enormous assets to being older and why he’s fighting back against “buffoons” like Jeremy Clarkson.

Chris Packham has spent his lifetime as an environmental campaigner. The naturalist and presenter of BBC’s Winterwatch is now 62 and, in an exclusive interview with our very own Saga Magazine, says that with the planet running out of time, he’s racing to inspire the next generation and fight back against ‘buffoons’ like Jeremy Clarkson.

“I got a Google alert last night saying Jeremy Clarkson had been thinking about buying a Land Rover with a relatively small engine,” he tells us.

“But then he’d seen me on TV saying something which offended him – probably something positive about the environment – so he’d bought a five-litre, gas-guzzling, twin turbo-charged Range Rover just to spite Chris Packham.

“I mean… what a buffoon. It betrays such a tragic ignorance it has an almost comedic value.”

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The presenter is no stranger to being the brunt of other people’s rage for his campaigning stance. He’s had threats, dead crows have been strung up outside his home and his gates set on fire.

“I had a death threat sent by email last week that was reported to the police,” he explains.

“A threat of violence the previous week. On my social media platforms, the climate change deniers, the pro-shooting, pro-hunting lobbies are very active daily. I spend quite a lot of time alone in the countryside with my dogs and you don’t know who’s around the next corner.”

But he refuses to let the haters deter him, saying: “I think of ways of turning them into something positive.”

Packham is often spoken of as the successor to David Attenborough but he shrugs off the comparison.

“David doesn’t need a successor, he’s still here,” he says. “But there won’t be a successor: David cast an enormous influence across the world through television, but at the moment people of a younger generation are more influenced by TikTok.

“We don’t need another David, we need another person on social media doing the same job and that isn’t going to be me – it’s going to be a young person.”

Watch our exclusive behind the scenes video

“There’s enormous assets to being an older person”

Watch our behind-the-scenes video (below) of our chat with Packham, where he talks about the benefits of growing older and shares his tips on how we can all look after the planet.

“Now I have a better understanding of life, ecology, history, culture, than I ever could have had as a young person simply because, and I’m not bragging, I’m just being an old person,” he says.

“I know more. And I love that, I love knowing stuff. And you know, I hope I am able to keep knowing stuff as long as I keep living.”

Superhero Animals by Chris Packham and illustrated by Anders Frang is published by Red Shed as part of the new Little Experts series.

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Written by Julia Llewellyn Smith

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