Springwatch looks at nature and our health

Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke and Chris Packham look at nature and how it can help our mental healthIolo Williams, Gillian Burke and Chris Packham look at nature and how it can help our mental health
Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke and Chris Packham look at nature and how it can help our mental health | WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture Service (BBC Pictures) as s
Springwatch 2020; (BBC2, 8pm)

Even in a pandemic, when nothing seems normal, the seasons still change. Which is one of the reasons many viewers were relieved when Springwatch returned last week.

Of course, like a lot of other shows that have returned to our screens over the past couple of months, it’s not quite how we know it.

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For a start, Michaela Strachan, who is locked down in South Africa, is not on the presenting team – although she has sent a message of support.

And the hosts who did make it haven’t been able to gather together in the Springwatch hub.

Instead, they have been reporting from different locations ­- Chris Packham has been coming live from his New Forest patch, Gillian Burke has a Cornish base and Iolo Williams is broadcasting from his home in mid-Wales.

But despite the difficulties in bringing us a socially distanced Springwatch, they are all glad to be back.

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In fact, they think the series is needed now more than ever. Although some viewers will have found comfort in nature over the past few weeks, whether it’s spending time in their gardens or taking a walk through the local countryside, others will be especially grateful for a glimpse of the great outdoors.

As Gillian says: “This is certainly a unique spring and one that has presented the whole nation with some really tough challenges.

“With so many of us stuck indoors, Springwatch will bring the bright energy and colour of a season that is the very symbol of hope and resilience itself.”

Chris adds: “This Springwatch will be a series like no other. As the country experiences lockdown the natural world offers solace to so many. I’m delighted that through the magic of modern technology, the Springwatch team will be able to share the splendour of spring with the nation again this year.”

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In fact, it seems some of the presenters are finding an upside to broadcasting from their own patches.

Guest host Gordon Buchanan says: “One downside of my globetrotting work as a wildlife filmmaker is that I haven’t witnessed a British spring in its entirety for over 15 years. But now, being home here in Scotland, the wonder of nature has been my key distraction in these challenging times – perpetually fascinating and endlessly fulfilling.

“I am hugely excited to be part of Springwatch 2020 and will do all I can to bring a big slice of wild Scotland into people’s homes from the stunning Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.”

As the second week gets under way, he’ll be doing just that as he brings us footage of Scottish Ospreys in Loch Lomond National Park.

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There’s also a very timely look at how nature can affect our mental health.

Chris Packham will be sharing an extraordinary story of how a love of birds united English POWs and German Officers during the Second World War, and the team follows a pair of choughs in West Wales.

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