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Springwatch presenter Chris Packham has had Megan McCubbin in his life for almost a quarter of a decade, treating her to cultural trips far and wide as if she was his own child – and despite splitting from her mum Jo years ago, their bond has continued to this day.
Chris and Megan have since worked together on TV shows for the BBC, after she decided she was keen to follow in her beloved step-dad’s presenting footsteps.
Now, in a recent podcast, Chris has opened up on the behind the scenes secrets of his relationship with her.
Admitting that the pair shared a passion for punk rock, the documentary maker joked that they would “scream” along to songs like Billy Bragg’s A New England “at the top of our voices” in their earlier years.
Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones was another favourite during long car journeys when Megan was a toddler, and proud parent Chris recalled: “It was the first song she ever learned to say.”
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“Of course there was a lot of punk rock being played in the car… we loved putting that on and screaming at the top of our voices,” he continued.
However, there were also calmer and more tender moments, including their later love of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’.
“I’d split up with her mum at that point, but we were still really close and everything was very amicable,” he explained.
“Megs and I would put this on in the car and rather than scream this one, this is the one that we really tried to sing!”
The star cringed: “Neither of us have got a big singing voice [but] this was my big singalong with my step-daughter, who I’m very fond of.”
Chris also divulged during the Tracks of My Years podcast that he’d endeavoured to give little Megan a cultural education from a very early age.
“I decided that like my father had with me, I wanted to expand her education,” he revealed.
“Aside from taking her to castles, museums and art galleries – things that switched me on – I would take her to the ballet and to the opera, because I wanted to give her a very broad look at the world.”
The affectionate step-dad added that the pair would “get tadpoles and watch them mature”, too.
His love of the natural world certainly made an impression on Megan, as she went on to become a zoologist.
In 2021, she teamed up with his girlfriend Charlotte Corney at her tiger and lion sanctuary on the Isle of Wight – and was thrilled to connect with someone who had big cats, instead of the comparatively tamer “owls and snakes” Chris had introduced her to closer to home.
Megan’s foray into TV presenting originally began during the Covid lockdown when her mum, a nurse working on the frontline, decided it would be safer for her daughter to temporarily move in with Chris.
The pair started a Facebook live stream together, which aired for 30 minutes every day and was jokingly titled the Self Isolating Birds Club.
Staff at the BBC were so impressed by their output that they invited Megan onto Winterwatch – and the rest was history.
It was the turning point for his step-daughter, who had previously harboured an interest in drama and acting – and she soon became well-known with millions of BBC viewers.
Meanwhile, Chris also opened up about his new two-part series, Inside Our Autistic Minds.
“I want everyone to have a broader understanding of what being autistic is like because I think if people have that understanding, they can be far more accommodating,” he explained.
Suggesting that some are blind to the “positive aspects” of autism, instead viewing it as “entirely disabling”, he added: “I think we’ve made significant progress in the last few years… but there’s still a long way to go.”
The full podcast interview with Chris is available here.
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