Chris Packham ‘closes his eyes and winces’ when he hugs stepdaughter Megan McCubbin

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Chris Packham, 59, has Asperger’s Syndrome and spoke on the podcast How Do You Cope?… with Elis and John about certain implications of his condition. The Autumnwatch star said that one of the difficulties is struggling to be “physically touched” by strangers or even loved ones, including stepdaughter Megan McCubbin, 25.

We don’t spend time embracing now

Chris Packham

Chris shared: “I don’t like being physically touched by strangers, or even people I know to be quite honest.”

Speaking on showing affection to Megan when she was a child, Chris insisted that he knew it was important.

He said: “I cuddled her as a child, because I understood that was something I needed to do, but we don’t spend time embracing now.”

However, sometimes Megan, who works on Autumnwatch with Chris, will spontaneously give him a hug and he finds it difficult to reciprocate the gesture.

The TV presenter added: “Sometimes if we haven’t seen each other for a while, she comes up and insists on giving me a big hug. I just sort of close my eyes and wince.”

Chris entered Megan’s life at an early age when she was only two-years-old, after he began dating her mum Jo.

Although the couple split when Megan was 11, Chris and his stepdaughter have remained close.

Recently the pair spent lockdown together for logistical and health reasons.

Megan’s mum is a nurse, while Chris’ partner Charlotte Corny runs the Isle of White Zoo.

While isolating together, the now-colleagues penned a book entitled Back to Nature: How to Love Life and Save it.

However, Chris described one irritation that he had with Megan while they were cooped up indoors together.

He recalled: “The one thing she did in lockdown that got on my pip was make a mess of the kitchen. 

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“Why make pastry? You can buy it pre-made. You get out the flour, you put it on the worktop and It goes everywhere – the floor, your clothes, the poodles.”

“I’m not a mess-maker. Flour is the work of the devil,” he added to Radio Times.

Chris lives in a cottage in the New Forest and was not formally diagnosed with Asperger’s until 2005.

His fascination with animals and the natural world paved the way to his television career but was to an extent fuelled by the obsessive aspect that comes from Asperger’s, he has said.

The star is now very much content with who he is as a person and often advocates for those with learning difficulties.

The Springwatch star divulged: “If there were a cure for Asperger’s, I don’t know if I’d want it. 

“Humanity has prospered because of people with autistic traits. Without them, we wouldn’t have put man on the Moon or be running software programs. 

“If we wiped out all the autistic people on the planet, I don’t know how much longer the human race would last.”

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