Viewers of the BBC show Winterwatch have hit out over 'shocking' footage that shows a dead deer being eaten.

The latest episode of the nature show, filmed at RSPB Arne in Dorset, saw presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan set up infra red cameras near the carcass of the deer.

The cameras were set up to capture footage of nocturnal animals feeding during the early hours.

However, some viewers were left unimpressed with the footage of the dead animal shown during the episode, which they believe to be 'animal cruelty'.

Called 'carcass cam', the footage captured a fox  eating the body of the dead deer.

Ms Strachan told viewers at home: “Then at night, visited by a fox. This is exactly what we’d expect to come to this carcass and I’m sure over the next few days we’ll be getting more foxes. It looks nervous but remember, this is pitch black. This is an infra-red camera.

“It gets its confidence, sniffs around a bit and takes a massive mouthful, and runs away. I think we’re going to get a lot of action on that camera, I feel very positive about it.”

After the footage aired, some fans of the show took to social media to voice their displeasure at the scenes.

One furious viewer said: “Why on earth would they show that on TV. That poor deer. Feel sick after seeing that.”

While another complained: “Where did you get the dead deer from? I hope it wasn’t killed for the sake of a TV show.”

Someone else added: “Trying to eat my dinner and a rotting dead deer carcass is shown on Winterwatch and being eaten by a greedy fox. Lovely bit of viewing to turn me off my tea.” 

The complaints comes days after Mr Packham revealed he has been given a bodyguard whilst filming the show, after it received "specific threats" aimed at him.

Mr Packham has received threats before and had dead crows strung up outside his home after Natural England revoked licences for controlling 16 species of bird following a legal challenge by the Wild Justice group he founded.

His gates at his New Forest home were also firebombed in October, 2021, and has said he has reported the most recent threats to the police.