Editor Diane chats with Michaela Strachan about her really wild career in presenting
Michaela Strachan has been a familiar face on our TV screens since her first apprearance on The Hit Man and Her in 1988 through to her latest wildlife wanderings on Spring Watch.
How do you take your tea?
Rooibos is my tea of choice. I think it’s called redbush tea in this country but it’s grown in South Africa where I live and it’s called rooibos there. I’ve also been drinking green tea because it’s very good for you, but it’s a bit bitter so I put a little honey in it.
Who would you like to have tea with?
I’ve got a little bit obsessed with Dr Who recently, my 10 year old son Ollie and I are watching the DVD series with David Tennant. I just adore David Tennant as the Doctor! So I think it would be quite anarchic to have tea with David Tennant and Billie Piper, as the Doctor’s assistant, in the Tardis with a couple of African penguins because you’ve got to have a bit of wildlife in there as well.
What is your favourite animal?
I’ve got two! One is orangutan because I’ve worked very closely with them on a series for the BBC called Orangutan Diary where we followed the progress of orphaned orangutans. The other is sharks because someone’s got to love them! This year there have been a lot of shark attacks but on average only 5 people per year are killed by sharks. But on average 100 million sharks are killed by people in a year. As I say, it shouldn’t be people frightened of sharks; it should be sharks frightened of people.
What have been your standout moments on Spring Watch?
We had a standout moment last year with a little stickleback fish we called Spineless Si. Sticklebacks build tiny nests at the bottom of wetlands to attract females. Spineless Si was unlucky in love and his nest just wasn’t working. In the end, he won over his female, laid his eggs and by the final programme of the series we saw the babies come out.
Did you have a career plan B?
I fell into wildlife presenting; my original career plan was to be in musical theatre. I was passionate about dance, drama and singing, so that was the way I was going at 19. For seven months I toured with a performance of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. So I guess this is plan B and it’s amazing!
Do you have any hobbies other than wildlife watching?
I have lots actually! I live in Cape Town and I’m surrounded by natural beauty, so I love hiking. I still really enjoy going to the theatre and seeing live music and I like keeping fit with yoga.
What are your words of wisdom?
Always look on the bright side of life!