The BBC has a programme called ‘Open Country’ which in the past has had some perfectly adequate reports.

Listening today, however, to one Helen Mark going about the Stour Valley reminds one that the BBC is by-and-large wholly unsympathetic to the country.

This little princess was taken to a rather special old pillbox which is being kitted out as a Hilton for Bats. Having been got inside all she could do was squeak and quake with terror at being inside a confined space.

She complains in pillbox about not being able to sit down and her hands getting clammy. Her voice became distinctly nervous and she said she was frightened of someone locking door and the unpleasant atmosphere


Faced with some pigs she expressed fear at being near them and so on.


“Am I safe to come in amongst all these pigs they are quite big?”


“Make me a little nervous…. Squeak….”


“Some sows, they are so vast its frightening.”


Then there was what sounded like a Suffolk Punch Heavy Horse:

“…I’ve never seen such a huge horse I am almost scared to go near it, it is so vast.”


“It’s unnerving this creature is so vast.”


Why not employ someone as a presenter who actually likes the animals to be found in the countryside and who is robust enough to face to sort of situations one encounters there?



Mind you I was amused to hear the pig farmer summoning his pigs by the simple means of shouting “Pig, pig!” at them. I recall visiting a farm in the eastern Cape of South Africa in the 1980s where a fascinating gentleman was rearing white rhinos. We drove out into the bush to feed said rhinos and upon stopping the farmer leapt onto the back of a bakkie (pickup) and shouted “Rhino!………Rhino!”. I was dead impressed when three rhinos came trotting, dutifully, out of the undergrowth. Neat!

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