Autumnwatch 2020: date it returns to BBC, presenters, and how to watch seal pups live on camera from Isle of May
The 2020 edition of the BBC’s Autumnwatch wildlife strand begins tonight (27 October).
The combination of top-notch wildlife footage, extraordinary but accessible science and soothing presenters make this a therapeutic TV hit time after time.
Here is everything you need to know about this year's edition.
Who are the presenters this year?
Chris Packham was apparently “heartbroken” when his “TV wife” could only make guest appearances from South Africa on this year’s Springwatch.
Travel restrictions meant Michaela Strachan could not fly in from Cape Town – where she lives with her husband and son – for the latest run of the BBC show in May and June.
She is “the glue that holds it all together”, he said. The good news for Packham and TV viewers is that Michaela is “falling back” into her role for the BBC’s Autumnwatch 2020.
Packham and Strachan will be joined by Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams.
Where is Autumnwatch 2020?
Once again, this year’s Autumnwatch is being broadcast from a range of spectacular locations across the UK.
Chris Packham will be staying close to his home in the New Forest, and Gillian Burke – who has been a regular presenter on Springwatch since 2017 – will be at RSPB Old Moor in South Yorkshire’s Dearne Valley, a nature reserve teeming with wildlife.
Iolo Williams will be based at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth in the foothills of Snowdonia.
The Welsh presenter – who has presented shows like Rugged Wales and is a regular part of the ‘watch team – will be learning more about the charity based there that is dedicated to researching solutions for environmental change and helping create a sustainable zero-carbon Britain.
Where in Scotland is Autumnwatch 2020 being broadcast from?
Michaela Strachan and her team will be based at Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, five square miles of forest trails and rich wildlife including red squirrels in the trees, roe deer weaving through the undergrowth, and great flocks of seabirds that come to feed on shellfish.
Strachan will join NatureScot and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) at the Fife site for the two week run.
Marijke Leith, manager, said: “We are really excited to welcome the hugely popular Autumnwatch to the reserve and we’re sure that the local wildlife won’t disappoint!
“In these unprecedented times, and as the days grow shorter, nature can offer real solace, and we hope that this autumn we can help many more people connect with the amazing wildlife at this special site, especially those who are perhaps not able to get outdoors so easily at the moment.”
A live camera set-up on NatureScot’s Isle of May National Nature Reserve (NNR) in the Firth of Forth will focus on the grey seals out for pupping.
Almost 2,500 pups are born each autumn at the NatureScot reserve, making it one of the most significant grey seal pup nurseries in the UK.
David Steel, who manages NatureScot’s Isle of May NNR, said: “The grey seal pupping season is one of the great autumn spectacles along our shores and each year the Isle of May is transformed as the youngsters take over.”
When can I watch the live cameras?
Ahead of the show’s broadcast, a number of live wildlife cameras are already available to view.
Autumnwatch’s wildlife cameras are live on BBC iPlayer from 11am to 11pm every day until 6 November.
When can I watch it?
Autumnwatch 2020 begins at 8pm on BBC 2 on Tuesday 27 October.
New editions of the show will broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings for two weeks.
Episodes will be available to catch up on through BBC iPlayer shortly after broadcast.