BBC defend ‘difficult decision’ to axe Autumnwatch
8th February 2023

Autumnwatch: Chris Packham opens the 2022 series

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The decision to axe Autumnwatch resulted in more than 100 complaints from viewers who were unhappy with the move. The BBC has since hit back at the complaints, admitting it was a “difficult decision” for the broadcaster to make. The programme’s hosts Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan have also responded to the news on social media.

In a statement released to its complaints website, the BBC explained why the show was cancelled.

The statement began: “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, which will continue, as they are most popular with audiences.”

The broadcaster went on to emphasise that fans would still be able to watch Springwatch and Winterwatch.

The statement continued: “We remain committed to live natural history programming and recognise the importance audiences place on this, its value to society and the enjoyment it brings people in their lives.

“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.”

When the decision was announced, unhappy fans took to social media to share their frustrations.

Gorath fumed: “If the BBC really are planning to get rid of Autumnwatch (and Springwatch, plus Winterwatch too?) it will be a really sad day for Britain’s wildlife.

“Because Autumnwatch is so informative and interesting to watch and helps to keep people up to date about Britain’s wildlife.” (sic)

Carl added: “Since the people are forced to pay for a TV license; why can’t we decide what the programming is?

“Shows which aren’t just senseless propaganda are being dropped. Autumnwatch should not be cancelled, shows about the magic of the natural world are needed more than ever.” (sic)

“Can’t believe the BBC. They have even chosen, ludicrously, to cancel #Autumnwatch, a glorious show (with @michaelastracha and co).

“What a wonderful show, educating us all about British nature, and cancelled,” Lee raged. (sic)

A petition has also been set up in a bid to save the show from being scrapped.

Despite the axing, host Michaela Strachan told her followers to see the decision as a “positive”.

She tweeted: “I’ve been overwhelmed at all the comments about #autumnwatch & the BBC’s decision to axe it this year.

“Goes to show how treasured the Watches are.

“Of course, it’s disappointing, but let’s focus on the positives, @BBCSpringwatch is not far away & we’ll work hard to make it a corker.” (sic)

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