It's been a tense time for British nature-lovers these past few weeks, with scandal among the nation's nest boxes and hedgerows. The BBC has apparently been bombarded with complaints generated by Bill Oddie's commentary on the popular wildlife programme Springwatch. The former Goodie appears to have shocked parents across Middle England with his descriptions of mating rituals between two "horny" stag beetles. Explicit footage of Oddie doing squeaky-voiced impressions of the female beetle crying out "Oh! Be gentle with me!" was obscene before the 9pm watershed, apparently.
One has to wonder, though, what all the fuss is about. Oddie's adult humour will most likely pass over the heads of children. It is his tongue-in-cheek innuendo, and the attempts of his fellow hosts, Kate Humble and Simon King, to be heard over him that help make Springwatch so enjoyable. A brilliantly eccentric character who dominates the screen, Oddie combines a deep and genuine passion for nature with a brand of humour that is both informative and entertaining. Yes, Springwatch lacks the serious edge and magnitude of Planet Earth or Natural World, but it has, at its centre, a love for nature that is as British as it gets.
We are a nation of animal lovers, and Springwatch's growing popularity just goes to show this. And which would you rather your children were watching? Oddie's cheeky but educational look at the behavioural patterns of garden insects or the wannabes slouching around swearing and complaining about how bored they are on the tediously repetitive Big Brother?
Springwatch is a true reality show, of the highest calibre, red in tooth and claw, with a cast as dramatic and unpredictable as the British weather itself. Over the past few years, Springwatch has allowed us to see, up close, the complex yet endearing antics of some of the nation's best-loved animals, and it is they who are the real stars of the show. We've been treated to everything from the heart-warming playfulness of the ever-elusive badger family, to slightly less cuddly, cannibalistic barn-owl chicks. This time round, King and his team in Scotland have even brought us clips of the rarely seen, critically endangered Scottish wild cat.
This latest series has, once again, been excellent, combining informative viewing and high-quality photography with the signature Springwatch quirkiness. I hope the BBC ignores the niggling complaints of a difficult few and continue to allow Oddie, Humble, King and their feathered friends to delight us for many seasons to come.
Laura Gregory, student, Wrexham
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