Wednesday 10 November 2010

Michaela Strachan 'wasn't hard-core enough' for Countryfile

There's a fascinating employment tribunal case going on, which gives a little insight into the way the BBC approaches its coverage of what it calls "rural affairs".

Shooters often complain that the BBC has an anti-shooting bias - and their coverage of the recent Exmoor Emperor story might add weight to that argument. But how does the organisation go about its rural coverage, and is there any hope of getting more favourable (or at least less unfavourable) mentions of shooting on the telly, radio, BBC websites and the rest?

The case centres around Michaela Strachan and Miriam O'Reilly, who were 'let go' when Countryfile moved to its prime-time evening slot in April 2009. They claim it was due to ageism and sexism. The BBC argues not. Their head of rural affairs, Andrew Thorman, gives a host of other reasons - including, for instance, that Strachan was "a vegetarian, and wasn't happy to do hard-core stories in meat production."

All good knockabout stuff, and more entertaining than much of the BBC's output. But I'm looking beyond the soundbites, to try and learn what on earth the BBC is trying to do with its 'rural' coverage, and how it makes the decisions that can seem, to us at least, stark raving bonkers.


Chris (TheRambler) Dean said...

I for one don't mind her being a veggie, its sometimes nice to have a bit of "from the other side" critisism!! We all have different views on things so it seems only fair that we should have presenters from all spectrums of life!
I for one can't understand why anyone would want to eat from a plate that doesn't have at least one piece of meat on it, but thats only my opinion and doesn't nescassarily mean that that is the overall populations view

vicky said...

OK, the BBC doesn't make programmes for any one group. So why the BBC Asian Nework? Why The Shipping Forecast? The list of 'rural' shows mentioned was laughable! Jimmy's Bloomin' Farm! A show where a townie goes to the country and tells all the famrers they are doing it wrong then charges £6 for half a dozen bangers.....where is the show where the BBC investigates why many farmers follow intensive roues as it's the only way they can make a profit after being shafted by the supermarkets catering to their obese hypocritical customers. GRRRR. The only BBC show that doesn't portray the countryside as some sort of idealised theme park is the good old Archers! They mention the daily difficulties of farming life alongside the soapy stuff and people still listen; both farmers who are pleased to hear their problems being put into the public conciousness and commuters who might get a little hint about what goes on either side of the motorway! Countryfile could be a programme for everyone, sadly it's become very superficial with only occasional good pieces (the urban fox story for instance). Bless Michela though, she should stay with her Animal Babies show if the BBC don't want her on countryfile.