Mark Thompson

Director General

BBC

Television Centre
Wood Lane

London
W12

 

16th March 2005

 

Dear Mr Thompson

 

Whilst I understand that the BBC has had to rationalise and make 15% cutbacks, we cannot understand why these cutbacks should include 100% of your dedicated national angling programming.

 

Cancelling Radio Five Live’s Fish on Five show will deprive many of the UK’s three million anglers of an accessible show that has always embraced angling’s place in the natural world just as much as it has supported its role as a competitive sport.

 

I have been a guest on the show more than once and have always been impressed by its scope, covering as it did everything from tagging to salmon spawning, big match angling to poaching and the monitoring of insect life on our waterways.

 

Rather than cancel the show outright, and risk the fury of many angling licence fee payers, it would surely have been sensible to rationalise it in line with other aspects of the corporation. An independent poll commissioned by the Alliance last year found that more people have been angling than have played organised association football – this should be reflected.

 

What seems unacceptable is transplanting angling into a general sports show. As I have explained, angling is as much about the natural world as it is about sport, and much of the spirit of angling will be lost if its only national broadcasting voice centres on match reports and medals.

 

The Countryside Alliance has over 100,000 members, more than 20,000 of them anglers and, as BBC licence fee payers, we are encouraging them to make their feelings known to you. The BBC’s programme output should respect the huge amount of support and interest that exists for angling and not simply erase it from the schedule.

 

Yours etc,

 

 

Charles Jardine

Director

Campaign for Angling

 

cc        Countryside Alliance website

            Helen Stiles, Producer, Fish on Five

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