Goodie turns baddie as viewers protest at Oddie's 'X-rated' wildlife commentary

For the millions of viewers who tune in every week, the BBC's Springwatch, fronted by the former Goodie Bill Oddie, has long been a beacon of prime-time decency. So it came as a shock to many when, earlier this week, the presenter used rather direct language when narrating sexual congress in the natural world.

Describing a mating scene between two sparrows, Oddie, 66, said: "The female is asking for it – and getting it, basically. She is doing that wing-fluttering think like that as if to say: 'I am a baby, feed me'... [and] is getting quite the opposite." He concluded the piece by saying: "That's a wing-trembler she's just had there."

An item on beetles reignited the sensitivities of some viewers. Describing the sexual congress taking place in front of viewers' eyes, Oddie abandoned euphemism altogether. "He crash-lands on top of a likely looking lady – there's a bit of luck! One thing's for sure: this boy is horny!"

Then, as the male fought off a competing suitor for the right to mate, Oddie went into character, adopting the part of the female and saying in a high-pitched voice: "Come on big boy, come and get it. Oh, be gentle with me!"

Viewers reacted with outrage. One man complained: "I am sick to death of the constant innuendo being offered by Bill every time a scene of mating appears.

"It isn't funny or witty... just downright embarrassing when you are watching it with children. For example, being asked by my 10-year-old daughter: 'What does horny mean, daddy?' when watching mating beetles isn't right.

"I would never try to stop her understanding how animals reproduce, but commentary such as: 'She got more than she bargained for', and: 'He has his wicked way' isn't called for, and I am considering stopping her watching it."

Another viewer said: "This is schoolboy sniggering, behind-the-bike-sheds type humour and it's out of place in a programme that is otherwise marvellously educational for all age groups."

Oddie, who came to fame in the 1970s as one of comedy trio The Goodies, has been a keen birdwatcher since his childhood.

The BBC commented that many viewers endorsed the "light-hearted view" of Springwatch and Oddie. "The programme is always looking at new, creative and entertaining ways of bringing nature to a wider audience. Storytelling is one of many ways of doing this. No offence was intended."

Birds do it, bees do it... Oddie's mating commentary

On sparrows:

'The female is asking for it – and getting it. That's a wing-trembler she's just had'

On beetles:

'He lands on a likely looking female. One thing's for sure – this boy's horny!'

Click here to watch the episode of Springwatch which prompted the complaints

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Publishing

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Guru Careers: Report Writer / Reporting Analyst

£25 - 30k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Report Writer / Reporting Analyst is nee...

Guru Careers: German Speaking Account Manager / Account Executive

£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A German speaking Account Manager ...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...