Steve’s walk on the wild side
TV wildlife presenter and adventurer Steve Backshall visits Norfolk and Suffolk this month, as part of his Wild World Live Tour. And he’s delighted to have been made a patron of the Suffolk-based World Land Trust, as he told Rachel Banham.
He’s travelled the globe, brought some of the fiercest creatures on the planet to our TV screens and is renowned for his boundless enthusiasm for the natural world.
And Steve Backshall enthusiasts across East Anglia have more than one opportunity to see him on tour this year.
Steve says: “The first thing I have to say is a massive apology to any of my friends in Norfolk.
“We did a tour last year and put out the dates of where we were going and then got a whole bunch of letters back saying ‘Hang on, you’re not coming anywhere near Norfolk’.
“And we looked at it and went ‘Oh, ah, yes’ – and so King’s Lynn was the very first place we booked up this time round because it was a horrible miss on our part last time.”
But Steve’s followers in Norfolk aren’t the only ones with a date on his tour to look forward to. In addition to his appearance at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on October 24, he will be in Suffolk at Ipswich Corn Exchange on November 18.
During the talks, Steve will take the audience on a tour of the real life expeditions that have inspired his books “The Falcon Chronicles” and his new novel in the series, “Shark Seas”.
It’s a wild journey, illustrated with photos and films from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from the tundra to the top of the world’s highest peaks, and from the depths of the rainforest to the bottom of the ocean.
There will also be an extended question and answer session and the show will be suitable for wildlife enthusiasts “from eight to eighty”.
Steve says: “It’s everything from very, very young kids right through until their grandparents and everything in between, so I’m pitching the talk at anybody who likes wildlife at any age.
“There will be films from the expeditions, there will be some of the high points, some of the close calls, there will be bits that people haven’t seen before – you know, outtakes, bloopers, the behind the scenes type stuff.”
He adds: “And then there is always in these talks a really hefty section that’s given over to questions and answers – people quizzing me about wildlife and about expeditions. And that always tends to be the best bit, that’s the bit that people like the most – getting to ask me stuff.
“At the end of each half we have a section set aside and people will roam around with microphones giving the audience the chance to ask their questions.”
Steve admits that it can be scary, as well as rewarding, appearing in front of a live audience.
“Earlier this year I toured Australia and I had four dates at the Sydney Opera House…,” he says.
“It is frightening, stepping out on that stage knowing you’re following in the footsteps of some of the greatest entertainers ever and I’m just going to be standing there talking about animals.
“But you kind of learn the things that people want to hear about, the things that excite them, and I think that it’s really important for me too because I spend my entire life in the rainforests with a couple of sweaty blokes, my cameraman, my sound man and we don’t have any contact with the audience.
“Things like this are when we get a chance to find out what people like, what they hate, what they’re interested in and it’s the best way for me to learn and to be able to take my programmes and my talks forward.”
Steve is booked up until the end of the year. In addition to his tour and his new book, he has been writing his Masters thesis, preparing for his wedding to Olympic gold medal winning rower Helen Glover and has been to Rio to watch Helen compete in the Olympics.
He says he is also elated to have been made a patron of the Suffolk-based World Land Trust, a charity that he and Helen both support.
Most recently they gave their backing to the Trust’s Olympic Forest Reserve Appeal, to raise £40,000 to purchase and safeguard 221 acres (89.5 hectares) of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, an eco-region with astounding biodiversity that has been fragmented extensively due to the spread of agriculture and resulting deforestation.
Steve describes becoming a patron of the Trust as a “wonderful, wonderful honour”.
“I think the World Land Trust’s way of doing things is fantastic,” he says.
“It is incredibly practical. It is a way of working that people can understand, that’s tangible, that’s pragmatic. And I love that, because far too often, I think, wildlife conservation charities are guilty of having a message that’s very difficult for people to quantify – where’s their money going? What’s their money going to do? What is it actually going to achieve?
“With the World Land Trust, you know that if your money is being given to this particular charity it’s going to do something concrete.
“I think that simplicity is really, really important and it’s one of the reasons why I am really excited about being linked to the World Land Trust and I know that Helen is too.”
- Steve Backshall embarks on his nationwide “Wild World” theatre tour from October 19 to November 20. His new children’s novel “Shark Seas” will be published in October. To book tickets please visit: www.stevebackshall.com/tour
- Steve will be at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on October 24. Box office 01553 764864, weblink: www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk He will be at Ipswich Corn Exchange on November 18. Box office: 01473 433100, weblink: www.ipswichregent.co.uk