PICTURE GALLERY: Bill Oddie launches new internet wildlife show at Wild about the Wensum event at Pensthorpe, near Fakenham

Television naturalist Bill Oddie and his puppet friend Daisy were among thousands of people who attended an event to raise awareness of the Wensum Valley at Pensthorpe nature reserve yesterday.

The sixth annual Wild about the Wensum brought together groups that help protect wildlife and the environment around the mid-Norfolk river, and raised money to create habitats for dragonflies.

Mr Oddie, who used the event to launch his new internet-based wildlife show aimed at children, said it was not yet clear what effect the wettest April since records began had had on dragonfly populations.

He said: 'I have seen perhaps one or two dragonflies but they are fussy blighters and they don't come out unless it's sunny. Whether there's any big problem yet, it's too early to know.'

The former Goodie did not mind being upstaged by the nature bug puppet, who will ask him questions about garden wildlife during the shows, among the younger visitors to the site near Fakenham.


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He said: 'There is, rather sadly, less and less children's TV being made. There's a horrible logic to it that because children grow up and get older people get repeats a lot. There really are not any outlets.

'This is the main reason we thought 'Let's do this on the internet', and I think that's going to increase.'

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He said another attraction of a web-based show was it could be more topical, without needing a long time to pitch ideas to TV companies and then film.

Mr Oddie originally proposed Pensthorpe as a location for the BBC's Spring Watch, and praised the nature reserve.

He said: 'I remember when it opened many years ago and it was regarded by bird watchers on the north Norfolk coast as a menagerie or zoo. It's a brilliant example of being able to appreciate what the difference is between a wild bit and a bit that's manicured a bit and attracts wildlife. It's got every side of what's necessary for the natural world.'

See billanddaisy.com for information about Bill and Daisy's Wild World.

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