Published On: Sun, Aug 13th, 2017

Countryfile presenter Tom Heap hits back at ‘DOOM AND GLOOM’ viewer backlash

The presenter fronts Countryfile investigations alongside hosting BBC Radio Four’s environment show “Costing the Earth” and reports for Panorama on rural and energy issues.

However, fans of the Sunday evening family show have regularly hit out at moving the programme from friendly and fun segments, to darker and more serious elements.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Tom said: “I think there are more than six million viewers watching Countryfile. It would be amazing if they were all happy with everything we said, and these days, particularly with social media, you can always find people on Twitter who don’t like things that we’ve said, and that’s fine.

“I actually think it was pretty clever, someone who coined the phrase ‘The Grim Heaper’ for me. I thought that was pretty good.

“There’s ‘The Doom Lord’ and ‘The Grim Heaper’ but you know the fact is it’s not all rosy out there in the countryside just like it’s not rosy in any part of Britain. It’s quite right that we should be tackling the breadth of issues.”

Speaking about how the show finds segments of the show, Tom explained how it stems from a mixture of research and tip offs from the farming community.

He continued: “It’s a mixture of all things, just like in any newsroom, you’re not going to limit yourself to one source of stories so it’s sometimes things that I’ve come up with which I think are important, but we have a research team. Sometimes it’s events-based, it might be flooding when that’s happening or there might be issues.

“Currently we’re trying to do an investigation into this whole issue of the way meat is produced in America, if that’s going to be something we’re going to end up importing. Should we be looking at what we really me by chlorinated chicken, or what we mean by growth hormones in beef? Some of them are very much contemporary. Others are more revelatory things.

“What I think Countryfile does well is, like all journalists, we love to break new investigations, but we’re realistic. You can’t do that every day of the week.

“What we also do well is run the rule over a current story that really kind of gives someone the selling point on what’s behind this and what’s behind the headlines and I think people really appreciate that kind of journalism as well.”

Countryfile continues tonight on BBC One at 6pm.

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Countryfile presenter Tom Heap hits back at ‘DOOM AND GLOOM’ viewer backlash