Chris Packham awkwardly shuts down GMB host over unfriendly remark

Chris Packham insists he isn’t ‘unfriendly’ after Ranvir’s comment

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The wildlife guru has switched the great outdoors for the inner workings of the mind for tonight’s BBC Two programme, drawing on his experience of being diagnosed with autism later in life. As he detailed ways in which autistic people can struggle, Good Morning Britain host Ranvir Singh indicated that he might come across as “unfriendly,” which the 61-year-old was quick to shut down.

Chris is best known for being a passionate wildlife advocate, fronting programmes such as the Watch series on BBC.

As Chris detailed how he feels taken aback when he’s unexpectedly hugged by a fan, Ranvir talked about how it could be mistaken for “unfriendliness”.

“And I think that’s really fascinating, isn’t it?” The ITV journalist stated.

“Because as a public figure, people expect you to be very friendly and very open, and the idea that somebody might go, ‘Oh, Chris Packham’s a bit unfriendly’.

“You know, then that has its own ramifications about how you’re viewed and how you’re seen.”

The naturalist later addressed the comment, pointing out: “One thing I must say, I’m not an unfriendly person, autistic people are not unfriendly.”

“No, I know you’re not!” Ranvir quickly responded as Chris smiled.

“No, I know,” he replied. “But we sometimes just don’t portray our personalities in the way that many people do.

“We might not be smiling on the outside, but rest assured we’re smiling on the inside.”

“Oh that is lovely,” Ranvir remarked before Chris added: “I’ll be smiling tonight when the programme goes out because we hope it’ll give a wider understanding.”

Discussing his motivation for making the documentary, Chris had earlier explained: “I’m fortunate to have been given a small voice because of my work in television and I feel that I have to use that voice for good.

“Normally [that’s] championing the environment and wildlife, of course.

“But after my diagnosis, I realised that despite the fact that times have moved on – remember, I was a child of the 60s and 70s when autism wasn’t widely known, it hasn’t improved to the extent that we can feel secure.

“I fear that there are still young people suffering as I did, locked in their bedrooms with no light at the end of any tunnel

and that bleak outlook can be very disabling.”

Chris attracted some grateful comments from viewers, who appreciate his efforts to ensure people with autism are better understood.

Twitter user @PeachyInWales wrote: “Looking forward to the #chrispackham documentary tonight. 4/6 people in my household diagnosed as #autistic, one clearly is but doesn’t feel need to seek a d. His stories of school resonate hugely, but good support helps.”

@KevintheLong added: “I saw Chris Packham do a talk recently on autism and the beneficial effects of nature on the mind – as always, he was brilliant.”

@itsbeadux posted: “Brilliant hearing Chris Packham on @GMB discussing Autism and most importantly highlighting that women with autism are underrepresented.”

“Fantastic news Chris Packham is highlighting #Autism #AutismAwareness, my 18-year-old has struggled all his life with acceptance, struggled with bullying and loneliness,” @Elaine352286062 shared.

@mikeireland100 added: “Well done @GMB and Chris Packham.”

Others were surprised by the presenter’s appearance, with @GillCraigie asking: “How is Chris Packham 60?”

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV, while Inside Our Autistic Minds airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC Two.

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