Tonight, the first in Julian Clary’s new series, ‘Nature Nuts’ went out on primetime ITV. It is quite nerve wracking waiting to see the product of 3 days filming that happened just over a year ago!
We, as contributors, don’t get to see the programme beforehand, so it can be quite scary, waiting to see how the programme was going to come across. I knew it was going to be pretty funny as Julian is hilarious and his constant innuendos and jokes meant that we spent a lot of time giggling!
We actually filmed this piece last May and I was the first in the series to be filmed. I had already had lots of discussions with the series director, Simon Nash, so sort of knew what the premise of the programme was going to be.
The team arrived early one morning with a huge amount of kit that very quickly filled up my hall and flowed into my lounge!
It was a great team of camera operators, sound guys, Simon (Series Producer) and Charlie Bingham (Director) who were soon all introduced and setting up. We had a chance to talk through the kind of things we were going to film over the next three days and it was not long before Julian arrived and we were introduced!
We had wanted to get Julian as involved as possible with some of my projects in my garden, so we had organised for Ben and Jim from Brewood Ringers to come to ring the week-old Great tit chicks in one of my nest boxes. It made for fantastic footage and of course, we could not get past with out the classic phrase from Julian…. “2 men arrive to put rings on Kate’s Great tits….. nice work if you can get it……” :o)
I have only ever watched these new lives from my cameras… and I was absolutely amazed at how tiny they were! I could not believe that Jim could put a ring on such a minuscule leg! He did a great job and it was not long before the chicks were back in the nest and Julian and I waited anxiously , watching for the parent birds to return….
Then, it was up to my office to watch the footage from inside the box and for me to discover what else Julian had up his sleeve for me!
As you can imagine, I was very excited to find out that the team were going to help me capture the kind of footage I could never capture. Many of you will have seen Bushnell footage I have captured at Badger Bank… a sett not too far from me, that I have visited over the last few years. Although I have captured lovely clips at various sett entrances, I have never been able to see the badgers in ‘real life’ despite visiting the area numerous times at dusk. I was thrilled at the prospect of being ale to see what happened there after night and even more delighted when I discovered how they were going to do it!
I watch most of the BBC Natural History programmes, so was aware of the work that camerawoman Justine Evans did as I had seen incredible footage of her in various programmes, either strapped into tree tops filming arboreal antics or in a hide in Wild Burma, in the pitch dark, waiting for jaguars! When I heard that it was Justine coming to film, I felt highly privileged , especially as the kit she was bringing was very special… in fact there are only a couple of cameras like this in the world! These starlight cameras work on the tiniest amounts of light and would mean we could get incredible images in almost complete darkness.
Justine began to set up a hide and all her equipment in the woods, whilst I showed Julian around…
The idea was that Justine would film in the woods by the sett and a cable would run up to Julian and I, positioned outside of the woodland so our filming lights (and giggles) would not disturb the badgers. We had walkie-talkie contact with Justine. Julian and I were given a small pop-up tent that we had to erect and we spent a lot of time laughing and messing around, trying to get it up…. whilst the crew filmed our antics!
That night, just before dark, we all headed up to the woods and settled down. I was rather excited and Julian cracked lots of jokes… I just knew that the programme was going to come across well as we had such a good time! It was rather surreal, sitting in a field, in the pitch dark, with Julian Clary, watching a blank screen for several hours!
After a rather a long time and walkie talkie communications to Justine by Julian, asking me to tell her to , “Hurry up and find a badger!”, we had our first sighting! The camera was filming in pitch darkness, yet the area looked like black & white images in daylight! I was astounded and so excited, much to Julian’s delight! We had 5 young badgers, all out on the bank. With Justine’s expertise and specialist camera equipment, we captured some wonderful footage of these youngsters foraging.
We stayed for quite a while, watching this incredible scene, before heading back through the fields in the dark, back to our beds… my mind full of the wonderful images we had captured!
We filmed lots of other bits around my garden, which sadly did not make it to the programme, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and Julian and the whole team were a pleasure to spend time with. Friends, Joan Lockley and Russell Savory also appeared on this first programme and it can be viewed on ITV Player HERE if you missed it (although you have to put up with lots of adverts! )
I can’t wait to see the rest of the series. After trending on Twitter tonight and reading some of the lovely comments, I feel proud to have taken part. A big thank you to Simon Nash, Julian Clary and the wonderful team who worked so hard to make this series a reality!