Ex-Springwatch star jokes middle-class white men are “endangered species” on TV

Martin Hughes-Games considers himself “a rare breed” amongst TV hosts

Martin Hughes-Games

Presenter Martin Hughes-Games has joked he’s an “endangered species” on television as a white, middle-class man.

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The former Springwatch made the comments to Radio Times magazine when asked whether he would consider a return to the programme.

The genteel BBC 2 programme found itself in the centre of a storm in 2016 when Hughes-Games tweeted he was being axed so the BBC could reach diversity targets – something the Corporation denied at the time.

While he was reinstated following outcry, he subsequently left and was replaced by biologist Gillian Burke in 2018.

He joked, “I think the commissioner’s a bit grumpy with me, because I’m white, middle-class, old-aged…who wants me on their show?”

“I’m an endangered species. Let’s hope that conservation efforts keep me going, rather than going extinct.”

While Hughes-Games acknowledged that there are “white, middle-class, old-aged presenters who are actually quite good at their jobs” he also noted the importance of on-screen diversity.

He added that he does still remain close to his former Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michael Strachan, saying he “misses them terribly”.

(BBC)
(BBC)

“Michaela, Chris and I had a lovely chemistry which was the most wonderful thing to be a part of,” he said of his time on the show. “It was just great, it really was. Working with them on the programme was one of the happiest times that I ever had in 40 years in telly.”

Now working for ITV for his new nature programme Counting Tigers, following India’s conservation efforts, Hughes-Games admits that he finds watching Springwatch difficult.

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“I often find myself adjusting the tappets on one of my old motorbikes or something rather than watching it, because it hurts,” he said.