Autumnwatch 2009: BBC Change the Autumnwatch Format to 1 a week!

Autumnwatch 2009 will be spread over a longer period this year but just one hour per week. The first programme will be on Friday 2nd October and the last on Friday 20th November. Is this a good idea?


Sika Deer at Dorset Wildlife Trusts Nature Reserve on Brownsea Island

Sika Deer smelling the air, early one morning on Brownsea Island

Sounds like a great idea to me, as I think the old format was getting a bit dull and predictable. Hopefully this new format will allow the Autumnwatch film crews to visit more wildlife mad people (like you and me) and watch more of the wildlife in the UK’s back gardens.

With that in mind I’ve been busy adding an Autumnwatch 2009 page to the Dorset Wildlife Trust website, where people can add their Dorset Wildlife images to the special Flickr Group (so if you have any pictures of wildlife/landscapes taken in Dorset over the last few months, please go ahead and add them to the group). Big or small we’d love to see what you’ve seen!

Early Morning on Brownsea

Early morning watching the birds on Brownsea Island lagoon

I’m hoping the BBC will also do an update from Brownsea Island Nature Reserve (host of Autumnwatch 2008). I spent a weekend on Brownsea recently watching bats. It was a great weekend (I will add some film of the bat roost at some point) and gave me the opportunity to watch the other island wildlife before the tourists arrived on the first boat from the mainland. Within a couple of hours I’d seen woodpeckers, deer, red squirrels and loads and loads of water birds. An island all to myself – just heaven!

NOTE: Just to make it clear. This ISN’T a BBC blog. If you’d like to ask the Team at Autumnwatch a question click through to the Autumnwatch website. They have a great forum & blog and can also be found on Twitter under the name @bbcautumnwatch.Β  However, if you would like to leave me a comment…. please feel free to comment below. I love reading all your thoughts. Cheers. Jane

75 thoughts on “Autumnwatch 2009: BBC Change the Autumnwatch Format to 1 a week!

  1. That sounds like a much better format to me. I found that an hour a night of Springwatch was too much – especially as I would much rather be out watching wildlife in the field than stuck indoors watching it on TV!

    • I totally agree Roger B. I’m usually out watching badgers, foxes or bats in the evening… Which is exactly why the new format for Countryfile doesn’t really work for me. I wish it was back on a Sunday morning, but I guess they can’t please everyone…

  2. Sounds good to me.. Spreading it out over a longer time and cutting it to one per week should make for a great production. I found that if I missed a couple of nights for whatever reason (usually bats related actvities!) I then couldn’t get into it again as I was trying to catch up with storylines etc – so tended to simply not bother with it. I’m pleased to see that the BBC have made the change before it got too set in its format. Good for them – I’m now lookinmg forward to it with renewed vigour!!

  3. Good that the BBC are looking to improve the programme. I agree that Autumn (and Spring) Watch were becoming a bit “samey”. At least this type of screening allows us time to “catch up” if we miss it. I wonder if it will be pre-recorded rather than live though? In some ways that might have the advantage of less occasions of “nothing” but, either way, I shall be interested to see the programme.

    • All the comments seem to be positive ones – which is interesting. Obviously lots of people were feeling the same way. Glad the BBC have changed it. I think the programmes will be live, but with lots more film clips from around the UK. There’s also going to be 1/2 hour of Autumnwatch Unsprung (afterwards on the red button).

  4. Brownsea to yourself – sounds excellent. Im not sure about the one autumn watch a week, but 4 days a week (or 8 over 2) in autumn was pretty limited so I guess it will be good to try something new

  5. I’m increasingly annoyed by the wildlife shows we see on telly. The camera-work becomes more and more impressive and yet the programmes themselves seem less and less interesting: something must be going wrong somewhere!

    • You are absolutely spot on Pete. The film work is amazing – wish the presentation matched it. Maybe they should invite Mr Attenborough along to give them some lessons!

  6. Whilst I agree that once a week is probably a better idea, I feel that Friday night is not a good choice as if paople are going away for the weekend then they may not be able to watch it wherever they go, and also they might actually be travelling. I think any night other than Friday or Saturday ( and probably Sunday) would be better

    • Hi Mo. I can see that would be a problem. Conversely I’d find it a pain if it was Mon-Thurs (as I’m out most week day evenings watching badgers and other wildlife… I guess you can’t please all the people all the time. Thinking about it… Sunday night is probably best for me, but it’s bound not to be great for everyone. Maybe they can put it on a Friday evening and then repeat it during the following week (one time when a repeat would be useful!) and hopefully they will be using “watch again” on iPlayer as well.

  7. i think once a week is not enough especially if you want updates on things that are happening, two 1 hr shows a week would be better i think

  8. I am very very disappointed with this change of format.I thoroughly enjoyed the one hour a night for 4 nights a week and it gave me a much needed wildlife overload. Can’t wait for it to come back.

    • I must admit I thought they were running out of ideas in last years Autumnwatch. I can’t help feeling that having it spread over 8 weeks will give them the chance to come up with some really interesting wildlife. However, the proof will be in the pudding… and I’ll hold judgement until the programmes start in October. Thanks for your comment.

    • I agree whole heartedly for one thing it wasn’t advertised enough and i hav already missed at least 2 programmes. But for those of us who cant get out to watch wildlife for ourselves it was great to have it on telly every night. And as for those who have said they’d much rather be out watching it for real so dont want to be stuck in watching it on telly surely the real thing is much better so they’re not really missing it if they dont stay in are they ? I’d very much like the bbc to put it back the way it was.

  9. If there’s one format change I’d like to see, it’s to be shown more of the wildlife and less of the presenters…fewer corny quips and more critters please!
    One thing I’m worried about is that one program a week may seem more like the series-round-up in the last program of the old-style series-we will miss out on the excitement of day-to-day developments. A lot will depend on how the program is put together-more in-depth coverage with just two or three subjects each week instead of a fragmented overview from a dozen sites would be better in this new format IMO.
    But, hey, any wildlife coverage is welcome anytime!

    • I agree. Any wildlife coverage is good. I like the idea of a more in-depth coverage of one or two subjects per episode. Well I guess we will have to wait and see… Thanks for your comment.

  10. I like the idea of the new format. 1hour a week has huge potential to explore new ideas. 2 hours would give greater capacity to keep viewers interested in new topics,but perhaps your already ahead of us on that one. Perhaps also, when Bill has recoverd there may be a specific area his expertise can cover.while still retaining Chris`s immense knowledge. Goodluck, looking forward to it.

    • I’m only a wildlife enthusiast like you but lets hope the BBC give us a treat with the new 1 hour a week format. It will be interesting to see what they do.

  11. Hi, nice to see all this interest in Autumn watch, I can’t wait for it to begin. I work at Monkton Wyld Court and Kate Humble came there to do a beekeeping course so I believe that is going to be featured in one of the first programmes! Hope I have’t given any classified information!!

    • I’ve been amazed by all the comments on this blog post – keep the comments coming. I wonder if the Autumnwatch team are reading them? I love bees, so I hope they include them… plus the more solitary bees – such as the Ivy Bee which is out and about at the moment feeding on ivy flowers.

  12. I like the idea of an hour a week but is Friday night a good idea? Many people go out on a Friday – I would have thought an evening from Monday to Thursday would have been better.

    • Umm… I know what you mean. Maybe a Monday would have been better. Something to cheer us all up after a hard Monday at work or school. I’m bound to miss some of the Friday night shows… hope they put them on iplayer.

  13. Sadly I now will miss most of the programs ( which i have been following for many years ) as friday night is perhaps the worst night BBC could have chosen ( various social contacts are on fridays…)….be it, but perhaps worthwhile to think about for the next edition of Springwatch ….or perhaps the program could be repeated somewhere during the week

    • Marcel you are right! I’ve just remembered that I go out every Friday evening to my Video club… now I’m going to miss not only Autumnwatch but Strictly Come Dancing as well – and I don’t know how to use the DVD recorder (maybe it’s time I learnt!)

  14. Oh dear! I know I may be an old stick in the mud but we did like the 4 days a week format. Fridays are not a good day a people go away for weekend or out for dinner. I’m afraid I may not keep up one night a week. Two may have been better.

  15. Delighted we are to have a weekly treat – makes planning so much easier and I am sure the presentations will be much fresher and less contrived. A young family I know are absoultely delighted as several late nights on the trot were just too much for their 8 year old in term time.

    By the way are you going to learn ballroom dancing as well as how to use the DVD recorder Jane? That’ll give the video club members a real treat!

    • I hope it is better than the 4 days a week.

      Re the dancing. I don’t need to learn ballroom dancing… I already have medals in it from my childhood (dark horse you see!). Maybe I could teach them a thing or two about the quickstep!

  16. I think two days a week would have been better say mondays and fridays once a week is too much of a change from the last format,and don’t forget springwatch and autumn watch have been a great success so changing from four days a week to one day a week is too severe.

    • Yes. It’s a big risk they are taking. Will they lose all their dedicated viewers? or will they gain more? By the way. Found out today that the Friday program is being repeated on the Saturday afternoon (for family viewing). I guess we will have to wait and see what tonight’s program is like…

  17. Watching now.2nd October.
    Obliquity of the etiquity.
    Seasons incorrectly explained.
    Angle of the suns rays to parts of the globe not closeness to the sun.
    The distance of closeness increase or decrease is minimal in terms of the total distance to the sun.

    • I enjoyed tonight’s show, but I guess you can’t please everyone. I think it will get increasingly better as the weeks go on… lets hope so, for your sake David!

  18. love the programme, but wish it was on every night the programme should be used in schools to teach children about not only our wild life but about all kinds of natural things the world has to offer us

  19. I only found the programme was on by chance, no advertising what so ever, and a format clearly designed for 16 to 28 year olds. The 10.00p.m.-10.30 p.m. programme, seemed something of a replacement for Jonathon Ross complete with silly females. I think even the two presenters may have been embarrassed by Simon King’s treatment.Yes, I’m sure we all got fed up looking at non existant badgers, but the B.B.C. has the most wonderful N.H. unit in the world, sharpen up !

    • Really? I must admit I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks and I’m mid 40’s… I agree there hasn’t been loads of build up (thank god) but I didn’t mind the format. Personally I think it will get better as the weeks go on and the whole team “warm” to the events unfolding during Autumn. Thanks for your comment.

  20. I liked the new format too. Chris is great out in the field as we had seen in short films with the old format. However now with him and Kate out and about he is tremendous and so full of little tips and interesting tit-bits of information.

    Much better having a longer time with Simon – he really is the King. Also I like the fact that he now moves around from country to country. Following the birds or geese from take-off is exciting. The maps are a good idea too – increase enjoyment and understanding.

    I was watching and wondering who else there would be when on came Gorden Buchanan – just the man I was hoping to see, but I couldn’t quite remember his name. Good stuff. Thank you.

  21. I really enjoy the broadcasts of both springwatch and now autumnwatch.Captivating viewing,top quality presentations.I think Chris is giving very interesting submisions to the programme.
    How is our friend Bill (Odie) getting along though? I would love to see him back in the programme.Could the presenters give us some info.please.
    to conclude,there aren,t enough programmes like this transmitted,brilliant!

  22. I just cannot believe anyone wants Bill Oddie back. He was dreadful last time and I stopped watching even though the programme was from Brownsea.

    • Hi Hilly. Bill still has a very big following. I don’t think he was right for the presenting of AW, but maybe the odd bird related feature (pre recorded) might solve that?

  23. I heard the Chiffchaff in our garden on 26th of September.We live in Liskeard Cornwall. According to the Reader’s Digest this bird may stay with us until October. In view of this I wonder why you wish to be told of Hearings.

  24. I feel very bad about saying this but I hated the new format, its lost it’s core element of keeping everyone hooked for the next nights episode. And I’ve lost that cuddly fuzzy warm feeling which I get this time every year since it started. Kate, Chris, Simon and the gang are still brilliant and I will keep watching but I wasnt hooked like I have been. I really really really do hope that they bring back the old format next year but I dont think they will. A big fat 😦

    • Don’t feel bad Sue. Everyone has an opinion! I’m hoping that as the weeks go on there will be some sense of continuity but obviously it’s not going to be the same. Like you I don’t think they will bring back the old format… but you never know!

  25. 8 oct, 2009
    have just witnessed a mind-blowing arrival of pink foot – 2pm on 8 sept – layer upon layer – where? aberlady bay in east lothian 20 miles e. of edinburgh. i believe this to be new arrivals (there are 20,000+ here already. if you are interested why not send up a camera crew to witness this spectacle? i would be prepared to accommodate up to 4 persons free of charge!! i guarantee you would not be disappointed with the spectacle.

    graham d black

  26. hmmm……….it is awful – quite awful. The personalities have overpowered the wildlife. Very sad. My mum and her mates who loved it are all switching off and I think we are in the death throws of the programme. Clapping and sound track to rutting stags. Bad taste yuk. Turned off.

  27. I like the new format but keep forgetting so its great it has a catch up on the saturday evening! I would like maybe 2 shows a week not just one so they can get more into the show! Still brilliant, interesting and encouraging to little ones and adults to get out there spotting wildlife!! fab keep it up πŸ™‚

  28. am enjoying new format but find the intrusive background music !!!totally annoying . Sequence of rutting stags ruined by it. Please dont go the way of Gardeners World

  29. Having listened to te comments about eating squirrels, I have an old cook book which gives recipes for Squirrel en casserole; squirrel fried;Squirrel grilled; squirrel pie, squirrel roast; squirrel sauteed; and squirrel stew. people used to eat anything!!!

  30. Ref’ to last fiday’s autumnwatcht. Concerning asion ladybirds, I’m reporting to tell you I have found several species in our garden.There are different orange blackspotted,and a black with two red spots, (Tamworth staffordshire.

    • Hi Celia. This blog is NOT run by Autumnwatch. This is a personal blog. If you would like to leave a message for the BBC Autumnwatch page, please go to the BBC Autumnwatch website. Thank you. Jane

  31. Hello, from Toronto, Canada

    Just a quick hello from as I’m new to the board. I’ve seen some interesting posts so far.

    To be honest I’m new to forums and computers in general πŸ™‚


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