Behind the scenes of Autumnwatch 2013

Cat on Autumnwatch set
Getting cosy on the Autumnwatch set

This year BBC Two’s Autumnwatch was broadcast from RSPB Leighton Moss in Lancashire for  four days, from Tuesday 29 October to Friday 1 November. In addition to the four live programmes, there were a number of digital add-ons to capture fans at different times of the day and on different platforms.

Autumnwatch Upsprung aired on the Red Button after each of the first three programmes and this year there was another Red Button and online exclusive – Autumnwatch Extra Live, which ran from 7am to 8pm each day. I appeared very briefly on Friday 1 November, talking about how BBC Red Button works behind the scenes, and how the team I work with in BBC Future Media choose the stories and programmes that feature on the bbc.co.uk homepage.

Rehearsals for the final live episode of Autumnwatch
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games rehearse

It was a great experience visiting the set. The RSPB team at Leighton Moss were delighted with the ‘Autumnwatch effect’ at the nature reserve. Memberships had rocketed from an all-time high of 12 a day to 31. Each membership brings in valuable funding and can last 15 years; in some cases, it sparks generations of interest in the RSPB as parents give children memberships when they grow older.

Autumnwatch 2013 was also notable for what Chris Packham managed to slip into his live links;  clued-in viewers already know to listen out for favourite song titles. As the Telegraph reported, this time he squeezed 12 mentions of classic war films into the first two epsiodes, including All Quiet on the Western Front, The Great Escape and Ice Cold in Alex. Hmm, now that’s what I call a Bridge Too Far.

So that’s a wrap until Winterwatch 2014. If you can’t quite last until then, take a look at some Autumnwatch-related activities for families on the Things To Do website.

Autumnwatch crew
The behind-the-cameras Autumnwatch team
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