Winterwatch has become a go-to show for millions of viewers who take solace in nature amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The programme takes a look at the natural world as animals face the coldest and most challenging conditions of the year.
The BBC series saw a rise in viewing figures for the launch episode which aired on Tuesday night, with 2.6 million people tuning in – an increase from 1.7million for the opener of 2020.
The figure is also higher than the first episodes of last year’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch, fetching 2.4 million and 2.1 million people respectively.
Presenter Chris Packham said the uptick was an indication of people wanting ‘solace and respite in the simple perfection of nature’.
He told PA: ‘Nature has never been more important, as more people have reached out, engaged with and embraced it more than ever before.
‘This is because our own species has found its own world stressed and threatened and in such desperate times we have found immediate solace and respite in the simple perfection of nature.’
Winterwatch returned with Chris, Gillian Burke and Iolo Williams at the helm. Host Michaela Strachan once again had to remain in South Africa due to current pandemic restrictions.
The launch episode covered goings-on live from the natural world in New Forest, Cornwall and Wales.
It also included a mindfulness moment where viewers were treated to calming, quiet scenes of a wintry landscape.
Chris previously described the ‘Watch’ series as the ‘least pretentious wildlife programme on TV’.
He told Metro.co.uk and other press ahead of Autumnwatch last year: ‘The door is open to absolutely every viewer, and we want them to come in, watch us and then go out and do it for themselves’.
Winterwatch airs Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm on BBC Two until January 29.