‘You’ll take away quality’ Chris Packham weighs in on BBC licence fee debate

Winterwatch: Chris Packham hands over to Megan McCubbin

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The future of the licence fee has been a prominent topic in British politics over the past few years, with MPs debating whether or not the tax should be scrapped altogether. BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham has recently made his views on the matter clear as he defended the licence fee.

Chris is well known for presenting BBC nature shows such as Springwatch.

The naturalist often educates viewers about the fascinating wildlife that can be found across the UK.

Having had a lengthy career with the BBC, Chris was keen to defend the broadcaster when the topic of the licence fee came up during a recent interview.

Highlighting the importance of public service broadcasting, Chris spoke about the current coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Chris insisted: “The licence fee is worth every single penny, and not just for programmes like Springwatch.

“But for all of the real news that’s out there as well,” he explained.

The nature presenter questioned whether streaming services were doing enough to cover the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

He remarked: “I mean, frankly, where have Amazon Prime been, where have Netflix been in Ukraine covering the news there?

“They’ve been nowhere. And they cost a lot more than the BBC,” Chris commented.

“So, good, top-quality public service broadcasting – that’s what we pay our licence fee for,” he said.

Chris explained that some of his BBC nature programmes can often be expensive to make.

He expressed concerns about how those types of shows would be affected in the future if the licence fee was scrapped.

Enthusing about the quality of BBC nature programming, Chris described it as “world-leading”.

However, he warned: “If you take away that funding, you’ll take away that quality.

“What a tragic loss,” Chris passionately told Radio Times.

The wildlife expert insisted that more people than ever before need to learn about the natural world.

He explained how strongly he feels about educating others about the world’s climate and biodiversity crisis.

Chris presented Winterwatch earlier this year alongside Michaela Strachan and Iolo Williams.

The series saw Chris and Michaela present live from Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk while Iolo broadcasted from the Isle of Mull in Scotland.

Chris is expected to return to screens later in the year as the BBC’s Springwatch coverage begins.

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