TALK OF THE TOWN: Norfolk locals furious after BBC banned gamekeepers from carrying guns near filming of Winterwatch, accusing broadcaster of being ‘paranoid’ in wake of Alec Baldwin incident
It is a celebration of the British countryside that has enraptured millions of viewers.
But the BBC’s Winterwatch programme has ruffled feathers in rural Norfolk, I can reveal, after producers banned gamekeepers from carrying guns anywhere within the 4,000-acre estate where it is filmed.
Locals have accused programme-makers of being health-and-safety busybodies and out-of-touch ‘townies’ who do not understand country ways.
Usually at this time of year, workers on the Wild Ken Hill estate would be culling muntjac deer for the benefit of the wider ecosystem.
But before the BBC descended on the area for their three-week stay, which ended on Friday, producers issued a missive clearing the estate of rifles and shotguns.
‘The estate has been advised by the BBC that invasive species control is not permitted while they are there,’ one local said.
The BBC’s Winterwatch programme has ruffled feathers in rural Norfolk (Pictured left to right: Presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Iolo Williams)
A local said they believed guns were banned in the wake of the accidental shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s latest film Rust (Pictured: Alec Baldwin)
BBC Studios confirmed that firearms were banned while the production team were on site following a ‘standard risk assessment’
‘The BBC are so paranoid, especially in the wake of what happened on set with Alec Baldwin, that guns were completely banned for the full duration of their time anywhere on the estate, even when cameras weren’t rolling.
‘It’s become a major talking point among locals, some of whom feel that townies have interfered with the country way of life.
‘Some estate staff felt like they were needlessly sitting on their hands at an important time for vermin control.’
Wild Ken Hill’s owner Dom Buscall has stopped the traditional pheasant shoot on the site, near the Queen’s Sandringham estate, but the source said: ‘Culling is still an essential part of the running of the estate.
‘Perhaps the BBC’s wildlife output is not as aligned with countryside ways as they’d have you believe.’
Chris Packham, who presents Winterwatch with Michaela Strachan, opposes many forms of culling but has conceded ‘we have no choice’ but to kill deer in the UK.
BBC Studios confirmed that firearms were banned while the production team were on site following a ‘standard risk assessment’.
The ultimate earring test
Here’s the latest celebrity jewellery craze – and it’s a real sign of the times.
Used lateral flow tests are being sported as earrings, as modelled below by Jude Law’s influencer daughter Iris, 21.
Dior model Iris has taken to sticking jewels on to her tests and hanging them from her lobes. It’s seemingly a bid to point out what a waste of plastic they are.
It’s a trend that seems to be catching on and I suppose I can see the appeal… as long as there’s only one red line showing in the window!
Used lateral flow tests are being sported as earrings, as modelled here by Jude Law’s influencer daughter Iris, 21
Could high-society catering firm Alison Price & Company be dragged into the Partygate row?
A waitress has claimed that the business sent staff and food to a ‘relaxed and jolly’ party featuring friends of Boris and Carrie Johnson, though she has said only Carrie was seen there in person.
Alison Price is the go-to caterer for society weddings and is famous for making extravagant canapes at high-profile venues including Kensington Palace, Blenheim Palace and the Tower of London.
Its website says: ‘Our team of hugely creative and talented chefs and event managers will plan and execute your perfect party.’
The company’s events manager declined to comment when I approached him before Partygate broke, and now says: ‘It’s a no comment, even more so than before.’
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