Countryfile host Tom Heap SHOCKED by farmer suicide and depression segment
The reporter told how he was covering farmer suicide and depression but was left shocked by just how open farmers were on the subject.
Fronting the show alongside a roster of presenters each Sunday, Tom explained how that particular moment stood out to him after years of recording the programme.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Tom gasped: “Wow. The most asked question is always a bit of a tricky one. I think one of the ones I really remember doing was a very serious subject, farmer depression and suicide.
“It was actually young people and older people, which was surprising again. We turned up at a livestock market and we were just talking to people. We hadn’t set up at all. We were in the canteen. These were old boys. They were remarkably honest and frank and sort of revelatory about how lonely sometimes they feel about the pressures of farming.
Countryfile presenter Tom Heap reveals farmer suicide and depression segment ‘really moved’ him
They were remarkably honest and frank and sort of revelatory about how lonely sometimes they feel about the pressures of farming
“You’ve got the fear of failure, you’ve got maybe generations behind you. It’s quite a lonely activity. All those kind of things. I was really, really moved by it. We talked to young people as well about this as young farmers are involved in the campaign. So that was a very moving thing to do.”
He continued: “At the same time I get to do very interesting stories with regard to methods of farming. I like some of the really high tech farming stuff I do. I find that very interesting.
“They can grow tomatoes under LED light and according to how you change the colour of that light, you can get different flavours and different chemicals in the tomatoes. There’s extraordinary developments happening in agriculture.”
The broadcaster also revealed that finding the right balance to suit the knowledge levels of the viewing audience could sometimes be tricky.
Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison alongside co-host Tom Heap
He said: “That is always a tricky level to get right. The other day we were doing something on air pollution in rural areas. Now, there’s quite a lot of meaty science in that but we try hard to get it in to ways of telling the story that are going to engage people and that they’re going to relate to because it is a general audience.
“Like in all audiences, some people will be thinking, ‘This is a bit basic for me’. Other people might still be thinking, ‘They’re all talking Greek’.
“The middle 85 to 90 per cent are thinking, ‘This is about right, I’m getting along with this and I’m learning something’.”
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Countryfile continues tonight on BBC One at 6pm.