Springwatch fans have reacted with shock and anger to the news that presenter Martin Hughes-Games is to leave the popular BBC series.
More than 1,300 followers of the programme’s Facebook page were quick to voice their horror at his departure – with many attacking the BBC for “political correctness” and airing their concerns that he might be replaced by newcomer Gillian Burke.
The wildlife presenter announced he was quitting on Twitter – prompting an outpouring of support and sympathy from his 50,000 followers.
Hughes-Games has presented on the programme for 12 years and said in his resignation tweet: “It’s good to go when the show is looking strong. Massive thank you for your support.”
The BBC said in response: “Martin has been a vital part of the success of the Watches– both on and off screen– for the past 12 years, so we’re very sad to see him go. We wish him every success in his new ventures. We’re excited to be bringing Springwatch back to BBC2 in May.”
It brings to an end an uncomfortable last 18 months for the presenter who appeared on the show alongside Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and new girl Gillian Burke.
In September 2016 he announced, again on Twitter, that he was being axed by the BBC in order, he felt, that diversity targets could be met.
That claim was denied by the corporation – but many of the show’s Facebook fans said they believed he was being marginalised for reasons of political correctness and hit out at Gillian Burke’s presenting style.