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Wildlife broadcaster attracts crowds at UCLan

Wildlife broadcaster attracts crowds at UCLan Banner Image

Chris Packham with second year journalism students Bethany Unsworth and Jack Dinsley

Springwatch’s Chris Packham offered advice and spoke about his Asperger’s diagnosis

One of the country’s leading wildlife broadcasters has shared his life story with students, staff and visitors at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Chris Packham, who has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, discussed his lengthy television career during a question and answer session with students and staff while he told an audience of invited business people how people with autism are huge assets to companies.

During the two sessions, held on UCLan’s Preston Campus, the presenter of The Really Wild Show and Springwatch, talked about his favourite animals, his vocation to inform the public about the world’s wildlife and how to tell interesting and different stories.

When I started out I was very lucky that I had help and the support of a good group of people and that was invaluable.

Chris, who is also a writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner and filmmaker, showed clips from his documentary, Asperger’s and Me, and spoke with brutal honesty about how he struggles in social situations and has difficulty with human relationships. He talked about his wish for people to better understand his condition and that of others with neuro differences and most importantly how those differences can be an asset in life.

Speaking after the student session, he said: “When I started out I was very lucky that I had help and the support of a good group of people and that was invaluable. I now feel very strongly that I should give something back and come and speak to the next generation of TV producers, writers and filmmakers because they are the future of the industry - they are the ones with endless ideas, plenty of energy and they don’t follow the rules.”

Jack Dinsley, second year BA (Hons) Journalism student from Kirkham, was among the listening crowd. The 19-year-old said: “I really enjoyed hearing about what he’s achieved during his long career and the hurdles he’s faced to deal with his Asperger’s.”

A short video of Chris’s visit is available.

Rachel Atkinson | 01 November 2018