Wildlife expert Chris Packham has gone One Step Beyond other TV presenters – by sneaking more than 20 Madness song titles into BBC show Winterwatch.
Chris, 51, has secretly slipped the legendary 80s pop band’s hit singles into the live programme – even making up fictitious relatives on live television as part of the ruse.
In the four-part nightly BBC2 series last week, he surreptitiously mentioned a total of 22 songs by the group.
The host gave his first hint of what he was up to with his introduction to the opening show, when he announced he was wearing Baggy Trousers – one of Madness’s most successful records.
Discussing the best places to spot rare breeds of bird during another episode he said: “My Uncle Sam, he lives in NW5”, name-checking two lesser known singles – Uncle Sam and NW5 – in one sentence.
And in the same episode, sly Chris managed to mention Tarzan’s Nuts, the band’s most obscure number, which was released only in the Netherlands, by saying: “These squirrels are out there swinging in the trees like little Tarzans. Nuts is what they’re after.”
Yet incredibly he failed to say the Suggs-fronted group’s only UK number one chart-topper, House Of Fun.
The song title name-checks will not be a surprise to regular viewers of Winterwatch’s companion series Springwatch and Autumnwatch, which Chris also co-hosts with Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games.
On last year’s Autumnwatch he seamlessly weaved the Best Picture winners at the Oscars into his semi-improvised script.
In previous years, Packham has secretly dropped songs by The Smiths, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers and David Bowie live on air without revealing his plan beforehand.
Autumnwatch and Springwatch have been running on BBC2 since 2005, but this was the first series of Winterwatch, based at the remote Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands.