Popular BBC wildlife presenter Terry Nutkins has died, aged 66, his agent has confirmed. He had been receiving treatment in hospital for leukaemia.
Nutkins was best known as one of the original presenters of The Really Wild Show, a BBC children’s programme that began broadcasting in 1986. Nutkins co-presented the show, alongside Chris Packham, until 1993.
In the late 1970s and early 80s, Nutkins appeared in the final years of the long-running Animal Magic, alongside Johnny Morris. When Morris died in 1999 he left Nutkins a substantial inheritance. Nutkins had to fight a legal battle with Morris’s family, who had been cut out of the will, and then sell his late mentor’s house to pay off the estate’s debts.
Nutkins bunked off school and volunteered at London Zoo as a child, and famously lost part of a finger on each hand during his teens, when he was attacked by an otter called Edal. This was during his years in Scotland assisting the author and naturalist Gavin Maxwell, which began when Nutkins was 11 and led to Maxwell becoming Nutkins’s legal guardian.
The father of eight children, Nutkins was a keen beekeeper and had spells both as a hotelier in Scotland and as the owner of Fort Augustus abbey on the banks of Loch Ness, which he attempted to convert into a wildlife park.
“He just loved animals,” Nutkins’s agent John Miles told BBC News. “He fought many causes to make sure animals were looked after, and the environment in general.”