Gillian Burke in BBC Two's Winterwatch

Winterwatch star Gillian Burke in profile: ‘£400k net worth’, getting her dream job and struggle as a single mum

The BBC wildlife presenter has thoughts on the cost-of-living crisis

Winterwatch returns to our TV screens tonight, as star Gillian Burke makes a poignant point on the cost-of-living crisis.

Lovers of BBC nature programmes should have no difficulty recognising Gillian Burke. She’s been a presenter with Springwatch and its companion series since 2017.

Here’s everything you need to know about Gillian, including her personal life, career, and views on the cost-of-living-crisis.

Gillian Burke in BBC Two's Winterwatch
Gillian Burke in BBC Two’s Winterwatch (Credit: BBC/Jo Charlesworth)

Who is Gillian Burke?

Kenyan-creole Gillian Burke is best known for co-presenting Springwatch and Winterwatch.

She was born in Kenya. Her father was a mechanic, and her mother worked for the UN in Nairobi on environmental projects. When she was 10 years old, her family moved to Vienna, Austria.

From there, she won a place at Bristol University, where she studied biology. She had planned to move back to Kenya after graduation, but her route to and from university took her past BBC’s Natural History Unit.

She told the Radio Times that it led to an ambition: “I remember gazing at it and thinking, ‘Wow. That’s where I would like to work.'”

Gillian achieved her dream. Following her graduation, she became a natural history researcher at the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

From there, she’s worked her way up through TV production, landing a role on Springwatch in 2017.

How old is Gillian Burke?

While an exact birth date is unknown, she is 48 years old in January 2024.

The Winterwatch 2024 team: Iolo Williams, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Chris Packham
The Winterwatch 2024 team: Iolo Williams, Michaela Strachan, Gillian Burke and Chris Packham (Credit: BBC/Jo Charlesworth)

How did Gillian Burke get into TV?

After doing what she describes as “a lot” of work experience, Gillian got her first TV job on Living Europe, an eight-part series made by independent production company called Green Umbrella. The series explored the diversity of European landscapes and wildlife.

Her ability to speak German, French and Spanish – as well as her biology background – helped her get the job.

Gillian’s first IMDB credit as assistant producer came in 2000 with the Discovery Channel documentary The Ultimate Guide: House Cats.

Gillian then worked as a specialist researcher for the short film Bugs! (2003), which was voiced by Judi Dench.

Her next assistant producer credit came in 2004, working with Austin Stevens on Snakemaster. The show aired on Animal Planet in the US and Channel 5 in the UK.

She made her first appearance on Springwatch in 2018, before joining Autumnwatch in 2020 and Winterwatch in 2021.

In 2019, Gillian appeared as one of the wildlife experts on Animal Planet series Nature’s Strangest Mysteries: Solved. She also narrated the nature series Thailand’s Wild Side in 2020.

Gillian has also made appearances as herself on The One Show (2021) and Rick Stein‘s Cornwall (2022).

The Springwatch team in 2019: Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke
The Springwatch team in 2019: Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke (Credit: BBC/Jo Charlesworth)

Is Gillian Burke married?

Gillian is believed to be currently single.

In January 2024, she spoke to OK! about life in a single-income home during the cost-of-living crisis.

She said: “The cost of living is tough for me – I run a single income home – I’m not doing too badly but I definitely watch what I spend. I have to be careful.

“I’m at the sharp end of the housing crisis myself. It’s almost impossible to find a home that you can rent for a family – holidays lets for example don’t help – it’s really tough.”

She made the poignant comment: “We don’t live in a system that helps us make better choices – the cost of living crisis is forcing people to make choices between eating and heating their homes. That’s what’s wrong with the world, it’s not right at all.”

Does Gillian Burke have kids?

Gillian has two teenage children, a son and daughter, with whom she lives in Cornwall.

She told the Guardian that her kids spend a lot of time outdoors and in their early years went to an ecological school.

Gillian said it was important to her that her kids felt comfortable in the countryside. She said: “Not being worried about getting dirty, or jumping off things or climbing trees – that’s a big part of who I am.”

Is Gillian Burke vegan?

Gillian has not spoken publicly about her diet.

The discussion is probably had on set, however! Her Winterwatch co-star Chris Packham is an outspoken vegan advocate, while Michaela Strachan also practices vegetarianism.

What is Gillian Burke’s net worth?

According to, Gillian reportedly has a net worth of $500k (£395k).

Winterwatch returns on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 at 8pm on BBC Two.

Read more: Winterwatch star Iolo Williams: The LGBTQ+ icon survived heart attack and had to walk six miles for help

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Susan Brett
TV Writer