Kate Humble: ‘Never think animal people are fluffy and sweet, Curious Creatures was tooth and claw!’

Kate Humble Curious Creatures
What Kate did next... BBC2's Curious Creatures (Image credit: BBC/Mighty Productions)

Kate Humble heads Curious Creatures, a playful new BBC2 wildlife quiz show with bite!

Wildlife queen Kate Humble hosts BBC2’s new wildlife panel quiz Curious Creatures. We caught up with Kate who revealed competitive team captains – Springwatch’s Chris Packham and zoologist Lucy Cooke – have the claws out in this raucous new panel show, which asks you to put your wildlife knowledge to the test…

How would you describe Curious Creatures? "It’s an animal quiz in the style of QI and Have I Got News For You. Chris Packham and Lucy Cooke are the team captains and have one special guest each per show. Over the course of the programme, as they get questions right, they win descriptions of an animal’s body part, which builds up a curious creature they’ve to identify."

What are your favourite rounds in the show? "We have a brilliant round called ‘Is it bigger than a chicken?’ But everybody’s favourite is ‘Whose poo?’ We worked in collaboration with the very real National Poo Museum on the Isle of Wight. They’ve the most amazing poo collection – top turds! The teams have to ascertain who’s responsible for these delights that are served to them on a sliver slaver. Another favourite is ‘Who’s the daddy?’, where they’ve to work out the parents of a cute baby animal."

Chris Packham’s knowledge is encyclopaedic. Did that put him at a natural advantage? "With quirky questions like ‘What’s heavier - a black rhino or the tongue of a blue whale?’ there’s not always an obvious answer. Chris is an encyclopaedia but in a round like, ‘Is it bigger than a chicken?’, where teams get a square inch picture clue, it’s never cut and dry."

Who are the guests? "They’re all wildlife people. Well-known faces like Steve Backshall and Martin Hughes-Games as well as newer wildlife TV experts such as amazing primatologist Christy Harrison."

Did it get competitive? "They are very competitive – the claws and fangs were out! Team captain Lucy Cooke thought she’d never beat Chris, yet made it her mission to try and thrash him. Never think animal people are fluffy and sweet, it was tooth and claw!"

Kate Humble Curious Creatures

Captains Chris and Lucy tested Kate's patience! (Image credit: BBC/Mighty Productions)

What was your biggest challenge as host? "Shutting them up! The shows are only half an hour each and they analyse literally every quill and claw trying to figure out what it is. There was also a fair amount of asking for points even though their answer wasn’t right. I found myself becoming like my headmistress! I should be wearing tweed, brogues and glasses half way down my nose, looking disapproving. I’ll work on it!"

How much of a departure does Curious Creatures feel for you? "I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve loved being in a studio with make-up and all this posh stuff! Curious Creatures is really fun, there’s masses of take-home information as well as lots of laughs."

What are your hopes for the show? "Hopefully it will have broad appeal and the quirky animal facts will be talked about in the playground and the pub, depending on your age… And I’ll get to make loads more episodes. I had a lot of fun doing it!"

Your career is getting more diverse! "Yes and it’s completely fantastic. I read once that Stephen Fry was waiting for someone to point out he’s a complete fraud. I’ve been thinking that for twenty years. It feels like it all happened by mistake. I used to be in production so I keep waiting for a big hand on my shoulder telling me I should be behind the camera not in front of it!"

Final question – what’s heavier, the black rhino or the tongue of a blue whale? "[Laughing] I’m going for a blue whale. I’ve learned loads on Curious Creatures!"

PS.  Kate is correct!  A black rhino weights up to 1,350kg, while the whale tongue can be 2.7 tonnes!

Curious Creatures is on BBC2, Monday to Friday, 6pm daily.

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.