TV Review: Springwatch 2012 BBC2

Well what a difference a week can make in the world of wildlife. Coronation Street had its tram wreck and Emmerdale Farm had its plane crash so a change in the weather appears to have wiped out half of the staring cast of this years Springwatch.

If the new broods were not starving to death because of a lack of insects, they were drowning and if not drowning the predators were having a feast. Flaming June may not be living up to its name but Darwin’s survival of the fittest is certainly coming in to play.

With all the death and destruction, together with a bit of mother-son incest, you have all the makings of a Christmas special for Eastenders – I wonder if the script-writers are watching. In fact there was so much death and destruction going on you could be forgiven for thinking that Michaela had mis-read the script for a new series of The Hitman and Her.

What this weeks programmes have shown us is that there is another side to nature than the fluffy chicks that stole hearts last week. It’s a tough world and it’s not always easy to survive in it.  And it’s well done to the BBC for showing life and death in the natural world.

It would have been easy not to show the scenes of dead chicks at the bottom of the nest box and it would have been so easy to not show the clips of the mink stealing the kingfisher chicks and egg but would it have been right.

I have no doubt that there will be those who will complain about seeing dead chicks on the TV but the natural world is not wrapped in cotton wool, it’s a hard and tough place and sometimes we need to be reminded of it. And that means children too if they are watching.

It’s good to see that the team of Michalea, Martin and Chris seems to be much more together this season as last Autumnwatch I thought thee was a little bit of non-gelling as Chris and Michaela rebuilt their wildlife partnership of long-ago leaving Martin a little on the edge. But there is none of that in this series which is great news.

With Springwatch now back on following the other planet wide one we can see the difference that happens when you have three experienced and knowledgeable wildlife presenters on a live show. They have the background and experiences to be able to fill in dead space with some entertaining anecdotes. So even a quick trip to the camera at an empty bird feeder can be quietly entertaining. 

It’s also good to see Iolo back on Springwatch in a more regular supporting role. I’ve always enjoyed his laid back style of wildlife presenting and his programmes on S4C has certainly helped improve my beginners Welsh. 

As enjoyable as Springwatch is, for me the star of the series are the weekly Unsprungs which is a nice and comfy audience participation and Q&A time. Highly entertaining and informative sadly this year there is just the two for some reason and that is a shame.

I think that Springwatch 2012 will certainly help put the BBC wildlife unit’s reputation back on track after the disastrous Planet Earth Live.