At a time when so much of television is read from autocue, it’s a joy to come across complete professionals whose love for their subject is second only to their knowledge of it. Those who don’t have young children may not have come across Steve Backshall; those who do will know that he’s one of the best-informed and most impressive presenters on television on either side of the Atlantic.
This above clip, from BBC3’s Big Blue Live filmed in California, gives a measure of his ability: he breaks off an interview after discovering a blue whale swimming behind him. His commentary was ad-libbed, yet dripping in facts and conveyed with wonderful drama.
Backshall conveys passion as well as he does information; his shows make for more compelling viewing than the staid, didactic nature TV shows served up to us adults. Yes, the BBC invited Backshall on Strictly recently – but I’d rather they invited him to make a five-part series for grown-ups. Why should the kids have all the fun?