Foxes, cheetah and grass - what makes Chris happy

Chris Packham, Spa Centre, Leamington, March 5,
Chris PackhamChris Packham
Chris Packham

The stunning photography capturing some of the most beautiful creatures on our planet makes going to see Chris Packham live worth it alone.

Unknown to me before the show, the presenter of Autumnwatch and Springwatch is an incredibly talented photographer - and, as we learn through the course of the evening, he takes great care and puts a lot of thought and effort into the scenes and wildlife he chooses to take pictures of.

As well as the fantastic and athletic cheetahs, lions and tigers that you might expect, Chris also shows us images he has taken of rarer creatures, including his favourite, the pangolin (an African lizard-like ant-eating animal that curls up into a ball to protect itself), some grass that particularly caught his eye and a variety of insects.

But Chris is also a great speaker. We are entertained, informed and engaged throughout by a man who has travelled all over the world to pursue his passion and seen more than many of us could ever dream of seeing. Yet he maintains a down-to-earth, chatty nature and I find myself really warming to him, despite not being a huge fan of the ‘watch’ shows on TV.

Yes, he does have an agenda - and you wouldn’t expect anything different - namely, to persuade people to get involved in the wildlife conservation charities he promotes. But Chis is also a good comedian - and his tendancy to voice strong opinions in a flippant manner produces many a laugh. He loves foxes and is sceptical about reports of them attacking children, for example. He finds little wisps of grass on his photographs of cheetah extremely irritating. He isn’t very fond of children. And he really cannot stand Cristiano Ronaldo.

What was particularly nice to see was that Chris made time to sign pictures before the show and take questions towards the end. You cannot help but like the man.

Sundari Cleal