Countryfile's misleading ecology

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I sometimes despair at Countryfile.  There was an outwardly commendable segment on Sunday’s programme about pollinators.  It was a coming together of Countryfile's Plant Britain scheme and Radio 2's Big Bee Challenge.  A bloke from Radio 2 interviewed the London Natural History Museum's Head of Biodiversity in the museum's garden.  Both waved their hands a lot in what seems to be de rigour at theBBC these days.  Whilst the museum grounds are not exactly 'country', they both stressed the point that biodiverse (aka green) space in urban areas is vitally important for us all.  Dead right.

They were using the FIT Count app from UK POMS to identify pollinators.  The programme focused on common (black) knapweed which was prominent in the 1 acre garden.  In the 10 minutes specified by the app only two hoverflies turned up – understandably, just which of the 270 UK species went unspecified.  Disappointing, but it made the point, and there were other pollinators in the garden at the time as we saw.

All this was fine, but during the endless chatter between the two blokes (and mostly all we saw were head 'n' shoulders shots of them), images of bluebells and horse chestnut appeared on the screen.  Clearly, dull old knapweed was being sexed up with more charismatic images to keep viewers' attention, thereby sending entirely the wrong impression of what's in bloom in July.  Do idiots make these programmes, or just cynics?

The garden was also full of meadow cranesbill but it went unremarked.  Now, that's a sexy plant ...

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • Yes Bill we go the drift however geography and history based programmes often get priority especially if Simon Reeve is involved as he was by 7pm as he’s usually traveling through very interesting but dodgy parts of the globe. He was definitely doing that on Sunday, crossing North Africa along the Tropic of Cancer.