Autumnwatch has to be more diverse – even if it means I'm out of a job, says Martin Hughes-Games
The BBC wildlife presenter says he "will still be a presence" on future Spring- and Autumnwatch programmes, but will no longer be a regular presenter alongside Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan
Wildlife broadcaster Martin Hughes-Games is preparing for what is expected to be his final appearance as a main presenter on BBC Autumnwatch.
The natural history filmmaker is one of three regular hosts on Spring, Winter and Autumnwatch, alongside Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham. However, after tweeting last month that his "services [were] no longer required" on the programmes, this week Hughes-Games confirmed to Radio Times magazine that he will be making way in order to allow the show to introduce a "more diverse team."
"Whatever I may think, it's crucially important that high-profile shows like the Watches reflect diversity," he said in the latest issue of Radio Times. "Chris, Michaela 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 this.'"
"White and middle class" – Martin Hughes-Games with fellow BBC Autumnwatch presenters Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham
The 60-year-old presenter says that while he will no longer be a regular presenter, he will still contribute to the BBC's hit wildlife show. Plans are yet to be finalised, but he hopes to present some pre-recorded segments and make occasional studio visits.
"I will still be a presence there, but we've yet to quite work out how that will be," Hughes-Games said. "We'll see how it evolves."
In September, Hughes-Games tweeted to his 41,000 that he would no longer be appearing on Springwatch.
“It is simply not true that Martin’s services are no longer required on the ‘Watches’," a spokesperson told Radio Times. "As well as being contracted for Autumnwatch we have begun conversations with Martin about an evolution of his role for Winterwatch and beyond. As far as the BBC is concerned Martin continues to be a valued member of the ‘Watches’ team.”
Read the full Autumwatch story in this week's Bake Off souvenir issue of Radio Times, in shops and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 18th October