The death today of Phil Drabble aged 93, countryman and presenter of the long running BBC programme One Man and His Dog from 1976-1993 saddens. Although he spent the first half of his life as a factory worker in the Black Country, climbing up the ranks to management level, it was as a countryman that he will be remembered. Initially he did not want to take on the programme, thinking it would not attract any viewers. he must have been amazed and gratified when it attracted eight million of them.

The programme continued until 1999, a solitary beacon of light amongst the dross of reality shows and output chasing the ‘yoof’ audience. The BBC, of course, only cares for the countryside as a backdrop to its producer’s holiday homes. Anything which might smack of approval, for example, of hunting or shooting would never see the light of day and anything it does do on the countryside tends to be about Rambler’s Rights to swarm at will over field and dale, the evils of factory farming or greedy farmers milking the subsidy system.

Mr. Drabble brought to us an enthusiasm and explanation of one of the most ancient of skills, sheep herding with a dog and so enriched our lives.