Springwatch Live host Chris Packham

Springwatch Live host Chris Packham’s most passionate rants and controversies

Don't get him started on fake grass, I'm a Celebrity or HS2!

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Chris Packham is perhaps best known for being a peace-seeking animal-lover, but he’s not afraid of a bit of argy-bargy either – so what have been his most famous rants?

The Springwatch presenter has regularly courted controversy if it’s something he feels strongly about – just ask Jeremy Clarkson!

So what’s got Chris Packham into a lather?

Here’s our rundown of some of his most famous rants and controversies!

Chris Packham rants
Beneath this smiling, dog-stroking exterior lies a rant waiting to get out (Credit: BBC Two)

Read more: Chris Packham reveals he has been receiving ‘death threats of a very serious nature’

Chris Packham rants: I’m a Celebrity…

The TV presenter has accused I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! of “abusing animals” on its series.

Chris hit out at the popular ITV programme when he picked up the TV Choice Award on behalf of Blue Planet Live for best factual show in 2019 (and many times since).

He told the audience: “A message to I’m a Celebrity… Can you please stop abusing animals on your programme?”

The audience reportedly booed him – something Chris took in his stride.

He later tweeted: “Oh dear, apparently I’ve been booed (?) at the @TVChoice awards for very politely requesting that @imacelebrity finally stop abusing wildlife on their programmes. I’ll be losing sleep over that then.”

Chris has also called for a police investigation amid claims that I’m A Celebrity “transgressed” wildlife laws.

He demanded the probe after fears show bosses released “invasive” crayfish into the wild last year.

The freshwater, Turkish crayfish could be a “disaster” to British native white crayfish because they are more aggressive.

Chris Packham rants
Mo Farah tackled crayfish during I’m a Celebrity 2020 (Credit: ITV1)

Read more: Gillian Burke on Springwatch: How old is the BBC presenter and who is her husband?

Chris Packham rants: fake grass

Chris Packham has slammed “idiots” who turn their gardens into “Barbie’s Legoland” with fake grass.

The wildlife presenter unleashed his fury at those who install fake grass in their gardens.

Ranting on social media, he said it creates a “desolate plastic wasteland”.

He made it clear that anyone who digs up a real garden to lay the mock turf wanted to live in “Barbie’s Legoland”.

In May 2021, he tweeted an advert featuring before and after photos showing how a landscaper had replaced a real lawn with fake grass.

The ad claimed the garden had gone “from desolate wasteland to luscious lawn in a day”.

However, 60-year-old Chris tweeted: “Wrong – from luscious biodiversity to desolate plastic wasteland.

“But don’t worry , we don’t need wildlife do we?

“We haven’t found solace in respite in the nature in our gardens over the last year have we?

“No. So just rip it up and live in Barbies’ Legoland then. Idiots.”

He then posted a link to an online petition calling on the Government to bring in a new law requiring anyone thinking of laying fake grass to obtain planning permission.

You’ve been told!

Chris Packham rants
Jeremy Clarkson mocked Greta Thunberg, thus enraging Chris Packham! (Credit: ITV)

Chris Packham rants: Jeremy Clarkson

Chris set his sights on Jeremy Clarkson when the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? host criticised Greta Thunberg.

The naturalist hit out at the “dangerous and unpleasant” Jeremy over a renewed attack on 16-year-old climate change activist Greta.

The Grand Tour presenter, 59, has made no secret of his disdain towards the Swedish eco-warrior.

But his latest tirade – in which Jeremy recommended that Greta “go back to school and shut up” – didn’t go unnoticed with Chris.

Chris took to Twitter to address Jeremy directly, writing: “Hello @JeremyClarkson just saw this rant about @GretaThunberg.

“I know you’ll be thinking I’m ‘weird’ & ‘a stupid idiot’ but I suggest you sit down and have a think about what a dangerous and unpleasant [bleep] you’ll be remembered as by your grandchildren.”

Of course, Greta has Asperger syndrome, as does Chris.

HS2 plans

Last year, Chris Packham launched a legal action against “unlawful” HS2 plans.

The conservationalist branded Boris Johnson’s decision to plough ahead with the rail project “unlawful” and said the environmental cost has not been weighed up.

Mr Packham said the review is “compromised, incomplete and flawed”.

He said: “In the year of COP 26, it’s time for Boris Johnson to be held accountable.

“For now, we have won on Heathrow.

“The climate impact of HS2 is incompatible with any Net Zero Emissions target and will allow the large-scale expansion of airports instead of Heathrow.”

Chris believes that HS2 will damage or destroy almost 700 wildlife sites, including over 100 Ancient Woodlands.

HS2 is a new high speed railway linking up London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland.

Chris Packham rants
Chris Packham with Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams (Credit: BBC Two)

Chris Packham controversies: arrested in Malta

The BBC wildlife presenter was accosted by cops who forced him to stop filming bird hunters in Malta.

The telly favourite was later arrested and charged with assault!

In April 2017, Chris appeared in court but was cleared of all charges.

The accusations were slammed as worthy of a “comedy show” by the magistrates.

In 2014, Chris was detained by cops after a similar heated row with hunters.

Chris’ controversies: death threats

Chris Packham was forced to pull out of a dog show due to death threats.

The threats came as a result of a bird-shooting row.

Chris helped secure a ban on farmers indiscriminately shooting “pest” birds and subsequently received a backlash – including serious death threats.

He was forced to cancel his appearance at Dogstival, a new festival for dogs in the New Forest, because of threats to his life.

Chris revealed that he’d received a “very calculated” death threat which outlined “a list of things they might do” to him, including organising a car crash or poisoning.

He even had two dead birds hung on the fence of his home.

chris packham on loose women
Chris Packham on Loose Women with his dog Scratchy (Credit: ITV)

Chris’ controversies: petition to sack him

In 2019, thousands signed a petition calling for the BBC to sack Chris Packham.

An online petition calling for the BBC to sack the TV presenter gained over 100,000 signatures.

He was accused of flouting BBC impartiality guidelines.

The petition, started by Andrew Hayes, said: “As an employee of the BBC, Chris Packham should remain impartial and keep his views and beliefs to himself.

“However, he is the face of many anti-hunting campaigns and uses his celebrity status as a platform to push his anti hunting agenda.

“He has made his goal to ban all kinds of hunting, and country sports and pursuits and I feel he is no longer fit to work for the BBC.”

Springwatch Live continues on Wednesday June 09 2021 at 8pm on BBC Two.

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