Gemma Atkinson: 'Harsh at times' Strictly star responds to Chris Packham controversy

Gemma Atkinson, 34, who competed on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, gave Chris Packham, 57, her backing for his work campaigning for a ban on the killing of “pest” birds in the UK. Addressing his appearance on Good Morning Britain today, the ex-Hollyoaks actress wrote in view of her 259,000 Twitter followers: “Well done @ChrisGPackham for standing up and helping our wildlife. I fully support you!” One Twitter user soon responded to the tweet saying: “Whilst I don’t agree with any of the hate he has received, magpies have just picked off nine ducklings from my friend’s pond.” However, Gemma was quick to make her views on the issue clear, replying: “That’s nature… as sad as it is to see it happens. Magpie has babies to feed.

“I’ve had birds nesting only to see some of them gone by blackbirds,” she continued.

“Food chain pecking order is harsh at times but it’s not for humans to intervene and just shoot them.”

Gemma’s statement comes after Springwatch presenter Chris helped lead a campaign which was successful in having general licenses for bird shooting revoked.

The changes mean farmers are now required to apply for permission to shoot birds on their own land.

On Good Morning Britain, Chris opened up about the backlash he has faced for his part in the campaign, after revealing he had found two dead crows hung outside his gate at his Dorset home on Friday.

“The police have spent quite a considerable amount of time at my house over the last few days,” he told hosts Susanna Reid, 38, and Piers Morgan, 54.

“We’ve had packages containing human excrement.

“Last night, I can’t speak too much about what happened last night because I haven’t been in touch with the police yet… but it was more serious, yeah,” Chris added.

“What kind of thing happened last night?” Piers questioned the wildlife expert. “It sounds serious.”

“Death threats of a very serious nature,” he replied.

“No one should take aim at you with sending you c**p, literally, and threatening your life or those close to you,” Susanna emphasised.

“Whatever you think about the argument, and you can be on one side or the other — death threats? What is wrong with people?!”

Since Chris joined the campaign against the killing of ‘pest’ bird in the UK, a petition calling for the BBC presenter to be sacked was launched.

Over 126,000 people have signed the petition so far, with the page saying: “As an employee of the BBC, Chris Packham should remain impartial and keep his views and beliefs to himself however, he is the face of many anti-hunting campaigns and uses his celeb status as a platform to push his anti-hunting agenda.”

Another petition, which asks for Chris to be saved from potential sacking, has received over 120,000 signatures.

It says: “We think his campaigns for wildlife are justified, as they are based on scientific evidence, and he keeps his campaigning and role at the BBC separate.”