Countryfile controversies – BBC guest fury, host backlash and grim seaweed scene

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Countryfile has been on our screens for 34 years and throughout that time, the show has travelled up and down the country covering agricultural issues from overfishing,

A whole host of presenters have been and gone and with them, a whole load of iconic moments along with some controversial ones too.

There have been segments that have left fans fuming and cast members who have had to defend their views to the country.

READ MORE: Helen Skelton walks off Lorraine amid dog carnage after addressing breakup

Keep reading to check out the most memorable and controversial moments throughout the show’s incredible over three decade residency as the BBC’s resident most loved farming show.

Dirty seaweed

During one episode, presenter Joe Crowley left viewers disgusted after he snacked on a piece of seaweed.

He was visiting Isle Martin in Scotland for a segment of the show and specifically focussed on the Seaweed Festival.

He spoke to the festival’s curator and environmental activist Julia Barton about the ecological value of maerl, a coral-like seaweed, and at one point decided to chow down on a piece.

Dressed in a white and blue striped top with grey cargo trousers, Joe bent down next to a huge rock formation and ripped off a piece of the seaweed.

He chewed for a moment, which was more than enough time to send viewers into a frenzy.

They took to Twitter to complain about what they had just seen and one fan exclaimed: “He’s eating seaweed right off the plant, some animal could have p***** on that earlier.”

Another joked: “Try this seaweed – I’ve untangled toilet paper from it.”


Tom Heap got in trouble during an episode which focussed on male cows, but

He wanted to highlight what happens to male cows as the “females do all the work”

Tom began: “Sadly, some dairy bull calves are shot. No-one wants it, but it’s been a grim reality for years.”

He said that it was “still happening” and although “no-one can put an exact figure on the number of dairy bull calves being shot,” he said the estimates suggest it could but “up to 100,00”.

However, farmer Michael Oakes – whose farm was featured in the episode – hit back at the show and spoke to Farmers Guardian.

He revealed that Countryfile had “approached” him as they were “looking to do a story about the thousands of cows shot at birth”.

The farmer said that he “only knew one farmer in the country” engaged in the practice and claimed that Countryfile are “always looking for a controversial story” as they would “rather be controversial than positive”.

Fans also took to Twitter and called it “madness” that someone would shoot a bull cow as they are “too expensive”.

Addressing Controversy

Adam Henson has had to defend himself over the response from fans over a few “controversial” segments that had been shown on the show.

Hunting is often a hugely controversial topic for people living in the UK and Adam noted that it is the “law of the land”.

He spoke to about his thoughts on the response he has received from

Adam argued that the BBC receive “letters of advice or complaints” and as presenters, the cast have to “be as balanced as we possibly can be” so that they can “show both sides of the argument,” especially if they are covering a “controversial issue”.

He assured fans that they “interview experts who may be on either sides of the table or the argument” so that viewers can “take their own judgement”.

Adam continued on and said that it “isn’t up to the presenters to judge or persuade” but rather to “lay down the facts”.

Lack of Interest

Matt Baker is a Countryfile fan favourite, but one report left a sour taste in some viewer’s mouths.

He met a farmer who took him on a tour of her land and told him that she had been trying to restore the landscape since 1992.

She offered him vegan honey, made from berries, and asked him to join in with the “ancient winter tradition” of wassailing.

They banged the drums together whilst engaging in the tradition, but his embarrassment didn’t go unnoticed.

He then joked that it was “fun” but “hoped that none of his mates were watching”.

Fans noticed his unenthusiastic demeanour and called him out for his efforts.

One tweeted: “I wonder whether Matt would be quite so sarcastic if he was taking part in an organised religious ceremony rather than wassailing the apple trees?”

Another claimed: “It’s killing Matt that he has to talk to a vegan.”


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