BBC Springwatch at Pensthorpe

Richard Parr A 120 strong production team complete with live broadcasting equipment and television stars started its descent on a Norfolk nature reserve this week.

Richard Parr

A 120 strong production team complete with live broadcasting equipment and television stars started its descent on a Norfolk nature reserve this week.

BBC2's Springwatch team, fronted by Bill Oddie and Kate Humble, is coming to Norfolk to show some four million television viewers the glories of Spring unfurling at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, near Fakenham.

The massive production team has the task of installing more than 50 hidden mini cameras and literally miles of fibre-optic cable by May 26, when the programme goes live, so they can follow undisturbed real-life nature dramas.


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It is the first time the show is to be screened from Norfolk, which is to host the show after the team decided to move from their now legendary base on a Devon farm.

And it coincides with the reserves' 20th anniversary.

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Presenters Bill and Kate, who visited the reserve this week, revealed that they had chosen Norfolk as their new location because of the county is unique in the range and diversity of habitats it offers British wildlife.

And added they looking forward to unveiling what was like a wildlife soap opera with their hidden cameras monitoring the up and downs of a colourful variety of wildlife 'characters', from blue tits to barn owls.

“The viewers really become involved with our wildlife 'characters' that we come across in the way that they describe a robin in their garden as 'my robin,'” said Mr Oddie.

Whilst they said they never know which stories they will be following until filming starts, they hope they will find some new stars this year.

This could be anything from ground nesting birds, such as Lapwings, woodlarks, skylarks and oystercatchers, as well as birds of prey from kestrels to marsh harriers.

Pensthorpe's 200 acre estate boasts a range of habitats from ancient woodland, wetland, marshland, Breckland and a conservation-important river containing the endangered white clawed crayfish, otters, brown trout and the regionally threatened bullhead.

It is also home to a wide range of mammals, including muntjac and roe deer, badgers, foxes, stoats and endangered water voles.

The conservation team at Pensthorpe also works closely with other wildlife organisations on the breeding and re-introduction of endangered British species, including the corncrake and the red squirrel. They are also working to re-establish European cranes that once inhabited the region their thousands.

Mr Oddie and his team will be broadcasting live from the site four nights a week for an hour and the EDP will be reporting from behind the scenes in a daily column.

And the team will be joined by Simon King and Gordon Buchanan, who will provide coverage from other sites from across the UK.

The programme starts on May 26 and will last until June 12.

More information about Pensthorpe go to www.pensthorpe.com.

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