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Countryfile - By Royal Appointment

8th March 2013

The Prince of Wales and the Countryfile team

The Prince of Wales and the Countryfile team

The Prince of Wales is to guest-edit a special edition of Countryfile as part of the programme’s 25th anniversary celebrations this year.

BBC One’s weekly rural affairs flagship reports on the people, places and stories making news in the British countryside.

For this special edition of the programme, the Countryfile team film at The Prince’s organic farm in Gloucestershire. The programme also follows the Prince as he visits his rural initiatives which are aimed at improving the lives of people working in the countryside, including Paul and Jennifer Johnson and their children, who raise sheep on the fells of Upper Teesdale in County Durham; it is 1500 feet above sea-level and one of the harshest landscapes in the country.

In interviews with Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker The Prince discusses the personal importance he attaches to the countryside and explains the reasons behind his choices for this anniversary programme. He also visits a South London school that has seen exam results improve as it tries to reconnect its pupils with the soil by growing their own vegetables.

Speaking of the importance of the British countryside in a speech to the Oxford Farming Conference on 3rd January 2013, The Prince commented "Is it not quite revealing that the BBC’s Countryfile programme has become so tremendously popular? 

"Ever since they moved it to its prime-time slot on a Sunday night, it has become one of their most successful television programmes, with over seven million viewers a week. There is evidently a thirst for the countryside and for the culture it represents."

Bill Lyons, Countryfile’s Executive Editor says: “Farming has shaped the landscape and identity of modern Britain and rural business contributes massively to the UK economy, but changing times throw up challenging questions. Through the work of his many rural initiatives and The Prince’s Countryside Fund, The Prince of Wales deals at first hand with many of the issues on Countryfile's agenda. As we celebrate our 25th year, we look forward to this special edition of Countryfile, which will bring the Prince's passion and perspective to this hugely popular programme.”

Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One says "It’s wonderful to have The Prince as guest editor of Countryfile. It’ll be a very special programme for BBC One and I look forward to it. "

The edition of Countryfile with The Prince of Wales as guest editor will air on BBC One and BBC One HD on Sunday 10th March at 19.00.


Countryfile - A Royal Appointment

A speech by The Prince of Wales to the Oxford Farming Conference

Published on 3rd January 2013

The Prince of Wales recorded a message for The Oxford Farming Conference and the message was aired today at their conference. The conference is in its 67th year and is held at Oxford University Examination Schools.

The mission of the conference is to inform, challenge and inspire the farm to food supply chain. Speakers are leaders in their fields of science and technology, policy, innovation and farming.

The speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I must say am particularly sorry I cannot be with you in person this afternoon and that, instead, you have to put up with this virtual, but at least carbon-friendly, form of communication. Frankly, I did not want to pass up the opportunity of contributing to the Oxford Farming Conference by introducing your debate on this year’s Conference Research Report. That's because it asks such an important question “What do U.K. farmers deliver to society?” Having read it, I can only commend it to you. It demonstrates beyond any doubt just how industrious farmers are and just how fundamental your contribution is to society as a whole and I do congratulate the authors.

Now, I am sure that your thoughts this week have been focussed on the economics of farming. The effects of the terrible weather last Summer and then the damaging flooding before Christmas, combined with the remorseless increase in so many costs, is putting huge pressure on farm businesses everywhere, and especially the smaller, family farms. So even before we begin to think about the hidden benefits which farming offers to society, we ...

Read full speech