Autumnwatch fans devastated to hear BBC has cancelled it

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke presented Autumnwatch. (BBC)
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke presented Autumnwatch. (BBC)

Autumnwatch fans have slammed a BBC decision to axe the popular nature show after 17 years, blaming "challenging times financially".

The unwelcome news for viewers of the annual programme featuring Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan broke on Thursday afternoon and prompted many to react angrily.

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One person tweeted: "BBC cancelling Autumnwatch is potentially the worst news I have received today. Why BBC?!"

Someone else added: "The BBC has cancelled #Autumnwatch? You cannot be serious. Surely."

Programme Name: Autumnwatch 2021 - TX: n/a - Episode: Autumnwatch 2021 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Chris Packham - (C) BBC - Photographer: Pete Dadds
Fans of the Chris Packham show are devastated it will not return. (BBC)

A BBC statement, which also revealed Winterwatch will be cut back to a week, said: “These are challenging times financially and we need to make difficult decisions and focus our resources on content that has the highest impact.

“Sadly, this means that Autumnwatch will not be continuing. Instead, we are investing more money into Springwatch and Winterwatch, as they are most popular with audiences.

“We are incredibly proud of the Watches and would like to thank the presenters and production team who will continue on Springwatch when it returns in May for three weeks, and Winterwatch when it returns next year for one week, reduced from two weeks.”

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One angry fan tweeted: "What an absolute load of rubbish, what do we pay our licence fee for. #autumnwatch along with Spring and winter watches are the best thing the BBC put on. We have to watch c*** like the apprentice which no doubt costs a fortune. What are you thinking #BBC"

Iolo Williams, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Chris Packham in Winterwatch. (BBC)
Winterwatch will be cut to one week next year. (BBC)

Someone else chimed in: "I know it's 'just' a television programme but I'd be interested to know what has a higher impact - surely it informs, educates, *and* entertains. I love the BBC but f*** me they make some disheartening decisions sometimes."

Another person wrote: "What next Gardener’s World? Are we to be reduced to a nation of watching utter bilge at a high cost and to the prevent people learning about nature? The BBC is losing more than it knows. I guess we will be having hour long Boris Johnson shows."

Others called the news "depressing", with one person saying: "Am so sad to hear that #BBC are dropping #AutumnWatch. What exactly are programmes that “have more impact”?"

Springwatch stars Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, and Gillian Burke. (BBC/Jo Charlesworth)
Springwatch stars Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, and Gillian Burke. (BBC/Jo Charlesworth)

Someone else wrote: "Dammit. Axing Autumnwatch feels like a poor decision – it's one of the best examples of public service broadcasting on the BBC. Brilliantly interactive, lots of proper science utilising the show's huge reach, inspiring primetime natural history TV, ace presenters."

Another person commented: "The cancellation on #Autumnwatch is utterly depressing. What a shortsighted and ridiculous decision by the @BBC"

One person tweeted: "Just another nail in the BBCs reputational coffin for me."