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As a child of the ’80’s and ’90’s I grew up watching and loving wildlife shows, they sparked a passion for animals and the environment. I loved learning about the wildlife across the world and how we could all help. The 2 most significant shows at this time had to be Wildlife on One which showed in the evening and The Really Wild Show which was on for children. The hosts, at the time I was tuning in, were Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Terry Nutkins and their energy and enthusiasm had me hooked! Fast forward 20 years and I still try my best to watch all of Chris’ TV shows and I also follow him on social media so when I heard that his live show Pictures From The Edge of The World was coming to The Anvil in Basingstoke I knew I had to see it… And it did NOT disappoint.
About Pictures From The Edge of The World
“TV presenter, naturalist, conservationist, award-winning photographer and author, Chris Packham’s new show is designed for impact. Challenging conventional ideas about where beauty is found, what good photography and art is and what it is for.
Everyone is tempted by glamour, the big, the brash and the beautiful. But Chris champions the underdog and pushes back at familiarity breeding contempt – for him humble everyday creatures are just as alluring. He likes to ‘make something out of other people’s nothing’ when it comes to photography and loves the challenge of finding beauty in ugly places”
The show is described not as a lecture but as a delve into the wild mind of Chris Packham discovering what inspires him, why he photographs the way he does, how his Aspergers determines how he views the world, his passion for conservation and how and why we should be helping to tackle climate change.
Pictures From the Edge of The World Review
Pre-Show at The Anvil
As always, we were welcomed by the very friendly and helpful staff of The Anvil who are always on hand to direct you to where you need to go, serve you drinks and snacks and assist you in anyways that you may need. As we wandered around the foyer we noticed that the Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust plus the Basingstoke Transition Network both had stalls set up to provide information and to gain more support which was lovely to see – such a great opportunity for us all to make a difference. As my eyes glanced to the next table I suddenly noticed a very familiar face… Yes, it was Chris Packham himself!! He was signing books and meeting the audience along with his beloved Poodles Sid and Nancy (who are new to the celebrity life and are being acclimatised to public meets).
I couldn’t let a chance to meet Chris pass me by so I purchased his book “Back to Nature, How to Love Life – and Save It” and waited my turn like a giddy teen about to meet her pop idol. Needless to say the most I could do was grin widely and not speak but still, what an experience!
Onto The Show
The show is definitely a game of two halves. The first half was lighthearted covering Chris’ photography, his travels, why he shoots the way he does and his thoughts on his photos. There were lots of laughs as he recalled childhood memories, explained what was in some of his interesting collections (there was quite a bit of poo talk!) and the experiences on some of his trips.
Chris also spoke about his Aspergers which was fascinating to me not only in the way he could stand up in front of a whole theatre and talk so confidently and eloquently on this subject but also how it has really defined the path his life has taken. His Aspergers meant he would develop deep obsessions with animals and from this trait he learnt all he could about a wide variety of species, he got out in nature to fully immerse himself and this then of course has led him to become one of the UK’s leading conservationists and naturalists. Being autistic comes with certain difficulties and Chris was open about how he found himself feeling different to others, how he was often alone and how socialising was extremely difficult. I loved how he raised awareness by making jokes, by explaining how his brain processes the world and how this is reflected in his photographs. I could have listened to him on this topic all evening, however, there was much more to cover in the second half…
During the interval Chris was back out in the main foyer signing books and putting smiles on people’s faces. There was such a buzz in the atmosphere, for me it was the fact that I was surrounded by so many likeminded people. It can be hard to be so passionate about the environment in everyday circumstances, you are often misunderstood, your views are often brushed off and we all know someone who is a climate change denier, don’t we? So, to be amongst this just made me feel apart of something very important.
Back to the show and the second half was very different to the first. This focussed on the problems we are seeing due to climate change, the way we treat our environment and our wildlife. Chris’ facts and thoughts were a stark reminder that we still have a lot of work to do. Some parts were a tough listen, but most of what he said sparked something in me again which I think I had lost a little of due to how doom and gloom the world has been feeling of late. But the way Chris delivers his message and breaks down how we can bring around change makes it feel doable (if we can get the right people in charge who will do as they promise, of course). And the way to generate change? Get those petitions signed, write to your MP, protest (if it’s your thing), make a stand, keep talking and keep sharing any lifestyle changes you make… Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?!
But if you think this includes pressure to go vegan, to change overnight, to do what isn’t within your means, you’d be wrong. Chris explains how if we all went vegan immediately it would have a detrimental impact on our environment which is precisely why small sustainable steps are what are important. He also touched on XR and their protests saying that he agrees with most but not all their actions and that it is perfectly ok for any of us to feel this way about any part of the sustainability conversation – we can all have our own thoughts and perspectives and it is ok not to always agree. We all have our own ways of trying to make change happen, the main point is that we are on the same side. I was nodding along throughout.
At the end of the show, the lights were brought up for a few Q and A’s so if you are planning on going get your burning questions at the ready.
I must admit, going into the show I didn’t really know what to expect but I came away completely inspired, buzzing and fired up. Chris’ viewpoint is refreshing, logical and does not beat around the bush. We need people like him and shows like this to make a difference and to ignite a passion in others to want to help our environment. I could have listened to him talk for hours more, I really felt as though I needed to hear more of his stories and opinions but what I have taken away is more than enough to continue on this sustainability path.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast and if you want to help protect our home then Pictures From The Edge of The World is the show for you.
*I received press tickets for Pictures from The Edge of The World in exchange for an honest review. As always opinions are my own. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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