Knowing me, knowing you: Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan

A relationship under the microscope

 

CHRIS PACKHAM, 50, is a naturalist, presenter and author. He hosted The Really Wild Show from 1986 to 1995, before presenting for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the BBC. He presents Autumnwatch on BBC2 alongside Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games

When Michaela joined The Really Wild Show in 1993, she had been doing kids television, working with characters like Timmy Mallet. She was also doing The Hit Man and Her with Pete Waterman and I think I'd heard of her because some of my mates seemed to fancy her. When she came to The Really Wild Show she came very much as an unknown entity. I think she faced it with some trepidation. I'm a relatively intolerant person and she felt she may not have been able to satisfy my requirements as a co-presenter, but she couldn't have been more wrong. She was one of those people to whom I took an instant liking: there aren't many. We carried on working together on all sorts of projects and have remained good friends. If Michaela commits one crime it's underestimating the knowledge and skills she has acquired in the field of wildlife, natural history and care for the environment. She has a real understanding and genuine concern for protecting the environment and wildlife. It doesn't matter that she didn't do a zoology degree or have her nose in badger poo for five years like I did, she's been working in the field for a long time. It's exciting to be working together again on Autumnwatch. People still associate us together, but there were a number of female presenters on The Really Wild Show. Perhaps it's an age thing.

 

MICHAELA STRACHAN, 45, was on Saturday morning television in the 1980s, before joining The Really Wild Show in 1993. She is a presenter on Autumnwatch. She has a six-year-old son with Nick Chevallier. They live in South Africa

I honestly thought Chris wouldn't like me when we first met almost 20 years ago, because he is very intense and incredibly bright. He's probably the brightest person I know. He was quite alternative and complex at the time and I was this sort of blonde, smiley, cheerful girl off Saturday morning telly. I really thought we wouldn't connect, but we hit it off immediately. For years I kept thinking: 'I wonder why our friendship works so well?'. Doing other stuff together over the years, we've developed good on-screen chemistry that you don't always get with other people. When I lived in Bristol we used to see quite a lot of each other, but I live in South Africa now. Saying that, Chris came to stay with me when he was over earlier this year for work. It's one of those friendships where we might not see each other for six months, then see each other and get on brilliantly. Our geography doesn't make it easy as he also spends a lot of time in France but we keep in contact. When we were younger we had a lot of fun.

 

Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham have partnered with Kenco to award four communities across the UK their very own giant animal, made from recycled glass. These were created to celebrate the launch of new-look Kenco jars, which save 900 tonnes of glass per year. For more details visit www.facebook.com/kencos

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