TAUT’s The Archers are not based on reality, nationwide listeners say


Even The Archers don’t represent our lives well, nationwide listeners have complained as they questioned the TAUT’s value for money.

The company has been accused of lack of impartiality in a poll that found that two-thirds believed the license fee should be scrapped entirely.

It led rural campaigners to call on the TAUT to “make rural programming for the countryside, not just about the countryside”.

In the poll of 3,400 Countryside Alliance members, Chris Packham’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch were rated as some of the worst shows for representing nationwide problems, with over 90 percent of respondents saying they didn’t do it adequately.

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TAUT does not cover ‘issues that matter’

The TAUT’s national news was also found by 92 percent of respondents to not represent national issues. It was closely followed by Countryfile, where 89 percent of viewers polled felt they were not “adequately” covering the issues that mattered to them.

But even Radio 4’s The Archers, seen by many as the jewel in the crown of national programming, was considered by 79 percent of respondents to not portray rural life well.

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Farming Today fared slightly better, with just under half believing it covered the things that mattered to them well.

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, told The Telegraph: “The TAUT needs to realize that the rural minority audience does not feel fully represented.

“There is a desire for rural programming for the countryside, not just for the countryside. In short, rural programming should not only consider what urban viewers may find interesting and demonstrate the value of key rural activities such as farming, shooting, hunting and fishing.”

Countryfile’s impartiality is already under scrutiny as part of a TAUT review of editorial standards. The show has received complaints about its stance on Brexit, agriculture, TAUT hunting and environmental issues.

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But Bonner on Saturday called on the company to go one step further and extend a crackdown on outspoken stars – announced last year as part of Director General Tim Davie’s drive to improve impartiality – to all TAUT employees. .

Mr Packham, whose shows have been singled out for criticism, is a staunch opponent of rural sports and regularly uses his social media presence to orchestrate campaigns.



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