Winterwatch has seen a rise in its viewing figures for the first episode of the new series, according to the BBC.
A total of 2.6 million viewers watched Tuesday’s series opener of the nature programme, which is up from 1.7 million for the first episode of the 2020 series.
Presenter Chris Packham said the rise in viewing figures has come amid an increase in interest in the natural world as people seek “solace and respite in the simple perfection of nature”.
The first episode of the new series was also watched by more viewers than the series openers of both Springwatch and Autumnwatch last year, which were watched by 2.4 million and 2.1 million people respectively.
While it is not an all-time record for Winterwatch, which launched in 2013, the figure for Tuesday’s episode is also higher than the 2019 total for the series opener of 2.5 million.
Packham said: “Nature has never been more important, as more people have reached out, engaged with and embraced it more than ever before.
“This is because our own species has found its own world stressed and threatened and in such desperate times we have found immediate solace and respite in the simple perfection of nature.”
Winterwatch is also presented by Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams.
Packham presented at home from the New Forest in Hampshire, Burke visited a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) centre, Strachan went to observe seals in Tentsmuir, Fife, while Williams went to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Pantperthog, Powys.