The British Garden: Life and Death on Your Lawn

Natural History1 x 90' for BBC4

You’ll never look at your garden in quite the same way again.

The British back garden is a familiar setting, but underneath the peonies and petunias is a much wilder hidden world, a miniature Serengeti, with beauty and brutality in equal measure. In this 90-minute documentary Chris Packham and a team of wildlife experts spend an entire year exploring every inch of a series of interlinked back gardens in Welwyn Garden City. They want to answer a fundamental question: how much wildlife lives beyond our back doors? How good for wildlife is the great British garden?

Through all four seasons, Chris reveals a stranger side to some of our more familiar garden residents. In summer he meets a very modern family of foxes - with a single Dad in charge, and finds that a single fox litter can have up to five different fathers. In winter he shows that a robin’s red breast, is actually war paint. And finally, in Spring he finds a boiling ball of frisky frogs in a once-in-a-year mating frenzy.

The secret lives of the gardens smallest residents are even weirder. The team finds male crickets that bribe females with food during sex, spiders that change colour to help catch prey, and deadly life-and-death battles going on under our noses in the compost heap.

So how many different species call our gardens home? How well do our gardens support wildlife? By the end of the year, with the help of a crack team from London’s Natural History Museum and some of the country’s top naturalists, Chris will find out. He’ll also discover which type of garden attracts the most wildlife. The results are not what you might expect… You’ll never look at your garden in quite the same way again. 

Executive Producer David Dugan
Producer & Director Tom Cook
Editor Laurence Williamson
Director of Photography George Woodcock
Drone Photography Johnny Shipley
Production Managers Eva Robins , Mel Moore , Pete Youens
Production Team Alex Tate , Nathan Budd , Charlotte Lathane , Philip Jones
Researcher Sophie Walsh
Runners Cory White , James Bowers , Jamie Macleod , Merrit Gohn , Pearl O'Brien