Martin Hughes-Games, who has presented on the programme – alongside its sister shows Autumnwatch and Winterwatch – for 12 years, announced in February that he was leaving the show and that he would not be part of the forthcoming series.
Find out more about his decision to leave the show, and read comments from the departing star and his former co-presenters below.
Why is Martin Hughes-Games leaving Springwatch?
The TV presenter’s announcement that he would be leaving the show has been a long time coming. In September 2016 he announced on Twitter that he was being axed by the BBC in order, he felt, that diversity targets could be met – a claim denied by the Corporation. As it turned out – and it might have had something to do with the huge support he received from viewers – his role was changed rather than axed. Less time in the studio, more in the field.
“Whatever I may think, it’s crucially important that high profile shows like the Watches reflect diversity,” he told Radio Times soon after the announcement had been made. “Chris [Packham], Michaela [Strachan] and I are all white and middle class so a more diverse team must present some of the films that go out. It’s hard for me because it’s my living but the more I thought about it the more I thought ‘no, that’s the right decision’. It has to be like that.”
Subsequently, in February this year, he tweeted once again that he would be leaving the show, but this time it was definite.
After 12 great years I have decided to leave the watches. It's good to go when the show is looking strong. MASSIVE thank you for yr support.
In an interview published in this week’s Radio Times, Hughes-Games said: “I had reasons for deciding to leave Springwatch, but these are private and I have no wish to upset anyone by going on about them. I’m going to miss Chris and Michaela terribly. Springwatch, as a totally non-scripted, live show is exceptionally difficult to present but Chris and Michaela make it look almost effortless and great fun – it’s an amazing skill.”
His co-presenters paid tribute to him in the same edition of the magazine. “We’ll miss him, he’s been an important part of the show for a long time,” said Michaela Strachan.
Chris Packham added: “Martin and I had some good times gadding around in the name of popularising science! We’re great mates, and we had a lot of other interests outside of natural history, which was a healthy distraction at times. I’ll miss him a lot, because Michaela knows absolutely nothing about Second World War aircraft. I’m just going to be talking to myself in the caravan!”
Springwatch returns to BBC2 this Bank Holiday Monday at 8pm