Inside the life of Springwatch star Michaela Strachan: From huge career change to devastating breast cancer battle and life-changing move to South Africa with her family

Springwatch star Michaela Strachan is one of the UK's most beloved wildlife presenters. 

The 58-year-old has become a familiar face for Britons after appearing on a whole host of programmes alongside Springwatch - these include Countryfile, Wildlife Rescue, The Really Wild Show, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch.

Most recently the television star was one of the seven celebrities who took part in the BBC Two reality show Pilgrimage, which saw her take a personal journey along the North Wales Pilgrim's Way.

Michaela has also had a turbulent life away from the cameras, opening up in March about her 'shocker' of a year after three devastating losses and a battle with breast cancer.

Here, MailOnline looks at the life of the wildlife presenter, from a little-known career change to relocating to Cape Town, ahead of Springwatch's return on Monday 27 May...

Springwatch star Michaela Strachan is one of the UK's most beloved wildlife presenters (Pictured on Winterwatch in 2022)

Springwatch star Michaela Strachan is one of the UK's most beloved wildlife presenters (Pictured on Winterwatch in 2022)

What is Michaela Strachan's surprising career history?

Michaela is best known for presenting the UK's most-loved wildlife programmes, with a huge fondness and enthusiasm for the animal species.

However, most people won't know that television is not how her showbiz career began.

The presenter actually had a brief but successful music career under the name 'Michaela'.

She released two UK hit singles - a cover of Edwin Starr's H.A.P.P.Y. Radio which was number 62 in 1989, and Take Good Care of My Heart, which peaked at number 66 in 1990.

Michaela's first presenting job was on the children's morning TV programme The Wide Awake Club, which she fronted from 1986 alongside Timmy Mallett and Tommy Boyd.

She continued her career in kids TV by appearing on Wacaday and Michaela on Sunday, before kickstarting her passion of the outdoors and animals on OWL TV between 1989 and 1992.

The star moved from ITV to the BBC in 1992 to present The Really Wild Show - a children's wildlife programme that she went on to host for 15 years.

From Michaela's Zoo Babies to Michaela's Animal Road Trip (pictured above) , the animal enthusiast became a household name who pooped up on TV screens fronting a host of different shows

From Michaela's Zoo Babies to Michaela's Animal Road Trip (pictured above) , the animal enthusiast became a household name who pooped up on TV screens fronting a host of different shows

Michaela is best known for presenting the UK's most-loved wildlife programmes, with a huge fondness and enthusiasm for the animal species (Pictured at a penguin rescue sanctuary on Animal Rescue Squad)

Michaela is best known for presenting the UK's most-loved wildlife programmes, with a huge fondness and enthusiasm for the animal species (Pictured at a penguin rescue sanctuary on Animal Rescue Squad)

She went on to present a series of other animal themed programmes, such as Wildlife Rescue, Orangutan Rescue, and Elephant Diaries (pictured above in 2007)

She went on to present a series of other animal themed programmes, such as Wildlife Rescue, Orangutan Rescue, and Elephant Diaries (pictured above in 2007)

Michaela joined the BBC Two Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch team in 2011 with Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games

Michaela joined the BBC Two Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch team in 2011 with Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games

On her website, Michaela gushed: 'I absolutely loved working on the series and got to travel all over the world.

'In fact I managed to tick off all seven continents in six months one year. Towards the end of the RWS, my role was presenting animal issues, anything from shark finning to the bushmeat trade to circus animals.'

She went on to present a series of other animal-themed programmes, such as Wildlife Rescue, Orangutan Rescue, and Elephant Diaries.

Her career went up a notch when she joined the Countryfile team in 1999, which she remained in for 10 years.

From Michaela's Zoo Babies to Michaela's Animal Road Trip, the animal enthusiast became a household name who pooped up on TV screens fronting a host of different shows.

Michaela joined the BBC Two Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch team in 2011 with Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games.

Martin left the presenting trio in 2018 and the core team is now made up of Michaela, Chris, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke and Megan McCubbin, with a new series kicking off on May 27.

When did Michaela Strachan relocate to South Africa?  

Unlike her Springwatch costars, Michaela does not reside in the UK and actually relocated to Cape Town, South Africa back in 2002.

She moved her life more than 8,5000 miles away alongside her husband and children and hasn't looked back since.

Unlike her Springwatch costars, Michaela does not reside in the UK and actually relocated to Cape Town, South Africa back in 2002 (Pictured on Springwatch this year with Chris Packham)

Unlike her Springwatch costars, Michaela does not reside in the UK and actually relocated to Cape Town, South Africa back in 2002 (Pictured on Springwatch this year with Chris Packham)

She moved her life more than 8,5000 miles away alongside her husband and children and hasn't looked back since

She moved her life more than 8,5000 miles away alongside her husband and children and hasn't looked back since

The star lives in the coastal town of Hout Bay with her partner Nick Chevallier who is a cameraman and producer, her son Ollie, her three stepchildren, Jade, Tom, and Sam, and the family's dog Rio.

She recently made headlines for revealing she only showers twice a week, rarely washes her hands and once ended up with a worm under her skin after eating a sandwich with grubby fingers.

The TV personality has since adopted a casual attitude towards personal hygiene since making the big move.

Appearing on Loose Women in April - filmed at The Eden Project to mark Earth Day - Michaela admitted her laissez-faire approach to cleanliness came from the need to conserve water while living in South Africa during a drought.

Asked if she considered herself a 'nature girl' because of her rugged surroundings, she said: 'I think, if you've got kids, if they come home really dirty, you know they've had a good day.

I'm not the sort of mother that looks at a child and thinks, 'Oh get them washed.' It's like no, you've had a great day, you've got down, you've got dirty, brilliant.'

Strachan also admitted she's not fussy about basic hygiene, adding: 'I'm not fastidious about washing hands and things, I think we're way too clean, all of us.

'I went through a country with major, major droughts, and we so we learned to only have a shower every three days.'

She recently made headlines for revealing she only showers twice a week , rarely washes her hands and once ended up with a worm under her skin after eating a sandwich with grubby fingers

She recently made headlines for revealing she only showers twice a week , rarely washes her hands and once ended up with a worm under her skin after eating a sandwich with grubby fingers

Appearing on Loose Women in April - filmed at The Eden Project to mark Earth Day - Michaela admitted her laissez-faire approach to cleanliness came from the need to conserve water while living in South Africa during a drought

Appearing on Loose Women in April - filmed at The Eden Project to mark Earth Day - Michaela admitted her laissez-faire approach to cleanliness came from the need to conserve water while living in South Africa during a drought

When was Michaela Strachan diagnosed with breast cancer? 

Michaela opened up in March about the 'shocker' of year she had, after experiencing three devastating losses and a battle with breast cancer.

She was diagnosed at the beginning of 2014 after a routine mammogram, but went on to make a full recovery after a double mastectomy which was followed by reconstructive surgery.

The presenter told The Mail On Sunday at the time: 'I couldn't get my head around the fact that on Monday morning I'd been apparently healthy, by Tuesday I had cancer, and by Wednesday I was talking about a double mastectomy.'

She went onto have reconstructive surgery and has worked as an ambassador for the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, stressing the importance of having regular mammograms.

Michaela also struggled with grief after losing her sister-in-law to cancer. On top of this, one of her friends lost her son at 35, her partner Nick's best friend had a heart attack, and one of her close friends died.

Speaking to The Express at the time, Michaela said: 'These were people our age. I know I'm getting on but I'm 57 – I shouldn't know this number of people who have died.

She grew close to former Springwatch producer Lucy Bowden when Lucy was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years after Michaela.

The star recalled: 'After Lucy's diagnosis we became very close and I helped her through it, but her cancer came back in 2021.

'I was with her three days before she died. We started filming Pilgrimage last September a week after her funeral, so I was grieving.'

Michaela opened up in March about the 'shocker' of year she had, after experiencing three devastating losses and a battle with breast cancer (Pictured in 2018)

Michaela opened up in March about the 'shocker' of year she had, after experiencing three devastating losses and a battle with breast cancer (Pictured in 2018)

As well as contuiting to present Springwatch, the outdoorsy television personality most recently appeared on BBC Two's faith-based series Pilgrimage

As well as contuiting to present Springwatch, the outdoorsy television personality most recently appeared on BBC Two's faith-based series Pilgrimage

The reality show saw Michaela and six other celebs tackle the Pilgrim's Way, which links churches honouring early Celtic saints

The reality show saw Michaela and six other celebs tackle the Pilgrim's Way, which links churches honouring early Celtic saints

Read More

Springwatch host Chris Packham, 62, admits he 'loathed himself and felt broken' before he was diagnosed with autism aged 44

article image

What is Michaela Strachan doing now?

As well as continuing to present Springwatch, the outdoorsy television personality most recently appeared on BBC Two's faith-based series Pilgrimage.

The reality show saw Michaela and six other celebs tackle the Pilgrim's Way, which links churches honouring early Celtic saints. They travel – on foot and by bus – 220km through Wales's slate landscape and Snowdonia.

Speaking about her stint on the programme, she revealed: 'The point of a pilgrimage is to explore your emotions.

'We had conversations on the show that were triggering for me. I found it emotionally challenging and sneaked off a lot on my own. Normally I'd join in with the group, but I had a lot to process.'

Michaela was joined on the show by reality star Spencer Matthews, Plebs' Tom Rosenthal, Traitors contestant and practising Catholic Amanda Lovett, Paddy McGuinness's ex-wife Christine, stand-up comic Eshaan Akbar, who's Muslim, and Escape To The Country's Sonali Shah, who was raised in India's Jain religion.

Pilgrimage: The Road Through North Wales aired on March 29 on BBC Two and is available to watch on iPlayer now.

BBC Springwatch returns to iPlayer and BBC Two from Monday May 27 for three weeks of live programmes.

[video_shortcode_video_html_5 src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/04/22/1250424525986940505/1024x576_MP4_1250424525986940505.mp4" itemprop="image" content="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/04/22/1250424525986940505/1024x576_MP4_1250424525986940505.mp4" data-src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/04/22/1250424525986940505/1024x576_MP4_1250424525986940505.mp4"]

OTHER NEWS

30 minutes ago

Rebuffed BHP wired for bigger Aussie 'copper province'

30 minutes ago

Olympic Track and Field Trials 2024: How to watch, preview

30 minutes ago

WNBA player who mocked Caitlin Clark has stern message for new fans

33 minutes ago

NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey has announced a major housing update in his second state budget

35 minutes ago

Highlanders' Garden-Bachop dies at 25 after 'medical event'

35 minutes ago

Kevin Costner 'selfishly' gave 'Horizon' role to 15-year-old son: 'It was a smaller part'

35 minutes ago

NFL analyst calls Steelers WR George Pickens a threat to single-season receiving record

35 minutes ago

Minister defends Canadian navy ship's visit to Cuba with Russian vessels in port

35 minutes ago

Tesla Cybertruck buyers reporting delivery delays over 'windscreen wipers issue'

35 minutes ago

Tasmanian power prices set to rise by 0.5pc as regulator hands down decision

35 minutes ago

England football fans told to behave by German police ahead of Denmark match

35 minutes ago

Copa America 2024 Group C: Dates, schedule, kick-off times and where to watch

35 minutes ago

I've got prostate cancer and can answer all the questions you're too embarrassed to ask: From extreme pain to needle guns in undignified areas and penis pumps - Dead Ringers creator JON HOLMES explains all

35 minutes ago

How professional gangs of thieves are coming to Britain to steal Hermes Birkin bags: They are easier to sell than stolen art and could make YOUR home a target, reveals BARBARA MCMAHON

35 minutes ago

ANDREW NEIL: Reform's crackpot 'contract' has all the rigour of maths done on the back of a Farage fag packet after a two-bottle lunch

35 minutes ago

Daily guide to what the stars have in store for YOU - June 18, 2024

35 minutes ago

DANIEL HANNAN: Step by step, Labour will bring us back into line with EU rules. How long before they come clean about wanting us to rejoin?

35 minutes ago

NADINE DORRIES: I get your anger over the Tories. But voting Reform could bring a Starmer dictatorship that goes on for ever

38 minutes ago

Car accessory company moves headquarters to Mesquite

41 minutes ago

Red Sox use long ball in 7-3 win over Blue Jays

41 minutes ago

Additional NASCAR Chicago street closures to take place this week

41 minutes ago

Mexico’s incoming president says surveys show support for controversial judicial reforms

41 minutes ago

Chinese premier focuses on critical minerals and clean energy during Australian visit

41 minutes ago

Super Rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop dies aged 25

41 minutes ago

Halifax MP Fillmore to leave federal politics ahead of expected mayoral run

43 minutes ago

Jennifer Esposito Says A “Harvey Weinstein-Esque” Producer Almost “Killed” Her Careet At 26

44 minutes ago

Rory McIlroy's US Open choke was like watching a car crash. But will it define him forever? Not a chance, writes OLIVER HOLT

44 minutes ago

Inside Cristiano Ronaldo's latest quest for glory at 39: Superstar pockets £160m a year thanks to Saudi move and sponsorship deals but is hungrier than ever to break records

45 minutes ago

IDF pilot recalls hostage rescue mission

45 minutes ago

Tennis-Raonic downs Norrie with record 47 aces at Queen's Club

45 minutes ago

Tremendous churn and weakness under the surface of the Nasdaq: Charles Schwab's Liz Ann Sonders

45 minutes ago

Practice notebook: Paul Maurice ponders lineup change, several stars receive off day

45 minutes ago

The market is bifurcated between Mag 7 and 'everything else,' says Richard Bernstein

45 minutes ago

Does anyone remember girls' comics such as Valentine and Serenade?

45 minutes ago

Columbus Blue Jackets Fire Coach Pascal Vincent

46 minutes ago

Gambling role for former football chief raises red flag

46 minutes ago

Disgraced Olympic kayaker Nathan Baggaley, brother Dru to stand trial over alleged $200m drug plot

46 minutes ago

Paris Rose Hair Artistry: Beloved Subiaco hair salon suddenly closes

47 minutes ago

Asia-Pacific markets rebound as Wall Street rallies overnight; Australia rate decision on tap

49 minutes ago

Video: Maryland governor pardons more than 175,000 marijuana convictions, the largest in US history, to give criminals 'a fresh start'