How does the new 'Countryfile Live' express an understanding of the British countryside? By excluding gunmakers, gun shops and large parts of the gun trade.

UPDATE 31/03/16: Countrylive File! has announced it is not an anti-shooting show. Read the story on Shooting UK.

The Field and Country Fair, 10-12 June 2016, is looking forward to welcoming enthusiastic country dwellers and sporting types to Cornbury Park. Alongside many other attractions, there will be a Gunmaker’s Quarter, populated with the best of the British gun trade, and those from further afield.

Also this summer the BBC’s popular Countryfile programme will be spun off into an event: ‘Countryfile Live’ at Blenheim Palace. A celebration of everything to do with the countryside you might think? An unbiased look at what makes our countryside work perhaps? A bringing together of the town and country? That is not likely as it is now revealed that the BBC have excluded gunmakers, gun shops and a large part of the gun trade from the event.

One of the Field & Country Fair exhibitors, Drew Boxall, of Boxall & Edmiston, this morning released a statement that calls in to question the rural integrity of ‘Countryfile Live.’

“It is unfair of the BBC to use one of their most popular TV shows to create a country fair, that will
undoubtedly be a success, and then exclude an entire industry from attending” says Drew Boxall, Director of Engineering and Communications at Boxall & Edmiston gunmakers, who has made it clear that these views are his own, and not necessarily those of the Boxall & Edmiston.

The use of the BBC’s marketing power and that of Countryfile was denied by Head of events Paula Al-Lach who wrote, “this is a commercial event, run by BBC Worldwide and as such will not be promoted on BBC  television.”

Countryfile’s mandate is, “To investigate rural issues and celebrate the beauty and diversity of the British countryside”,  the exclusion of shooting industries demonstrates that the BBC does not consider shooting to be a part of the countryside, a disdain many had believed for years.

A poll on the Countryfile website demonstrates the pro-shooting view. “Overall, does the shooting industry do more  good than harm to Britain’s wildlife?” – yes vote of 37876 (84%) and no 6837 (15%), showing a staggering majority who approve of shooting.

It now appears that a large part of the rural world, the part that shoot, conserve and protect our habitats are to be lumped together with adult products and tobacco, also exluded under the same BBC policy. An unwarranted step and unneccesarily divisive for the rural community.

Drew Boxall believes: “The BBC’s definition and part of their justification is almost slanderous to some parts of the shooting industries  and demonstrates a distinct lack of understanding, stating: “This category includes all guns (including replica guns), gun clubs, arms fairs and offensive weapons  made or adapted to cause injury.”

Blenheim is one of the finest locations to hold a game fair, its accessibility to London, the layout and beauty of the palace, make it an ideal venue. This predicted dominance of a new show, combined with the documented financial issues, led to the demise of the most famous British game fair, the Country Land Associations (CLA), another blow to the shooting industries.

The attitude of ‘Countryfile Live’ and the BBC is disappointing. For a real, rural and realistic country show this summer visit the Field & Country Fair instead.