Matt Baker mingles with exhibitors and visitors at the first ever Countryfile Live, which took place in the magnificent grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
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The magnificent grounds of Blenheim Palace
is the setting for a very special event...
..the first ever Countryfile Live -
a huge country extravaganza brought to you by the Countryfile team.
Yes, we are going to be celebrating the very best that
the British countryside has to offer.
We're going to be showing you around Countryfile Live
and giving you an exclusive look behind the scenes.
The whole gang is here to bring you the very best of Countryfile Live.
Tom and Adam go head-to-head in a test of strength and stamina.
John's watching the feathers fly...
Shall we let the first ones go?
Absolutely. Let's do it.
Off you go, boys and girls.
..Anita's on the trail of some venerable trees...
You're looking around at trees that have been here
before America was even discovered.
It just sort of takes your breath away
when you think about that this place existed.
..and Charlotte's looking at what Brexit might mean for
famous British foods currently protected under European law.
So, please, take your seats as we welcome you
to have a look around Countryfile Live.
This is Countryfile Live,
our very own take on the traditional country show -
a dazzling jamboree brought to you from the grounds of Blenheim Palace
where we'll be showcasing the very best of British rural life.
This is the first time we've ever tried anything on this scale,
so it's fantastic to see so many people here.
We'll be bringing you all the highlights
and giving you exclusive views from behind the scenes,
and there's plenty to see and do.
Well, you can get a pretty good idea of what things look like
from up here, so we've got lots of farming,
we've got lots of food, we've got craft stalls, country sports,
and this area here, well, this is going to be a live stage show.
What a beautiful day here at Blenheim Palace.
Yes! That's more like it.
And if you need to wet the whistle, maybe have a light refreshment,
if you follow this avenue down here, turn right,
you will find the Craven Arms. Fantastic.
There are 750 exhibitors from the length and breadth of the country -
44 different breeds of farm animal, 280 farmers, 130 food producers
and more than 1,000 bales of hay spread out over the 85 acre site.
But what's gone into planning Countryfile Live?
Matt's with John Hoy, Chief Executive of Blenheim Palace
who are hosting us at the show.
Well, John, you just must be relieved
that this thing is finally up and running and it's happening.
Two years in the making and it's been such a long journey,
with such brilliant people, such great partnership working,
and as you say, everyone's here having a lovely time.
Do you know what? It's one of those things where you wonder
and you hope it's going to be all right on the day,
and I am massively impressed with what's here.
I mean, the array of stuff, and the experience that people can have
when they come here, I mean, it's pretty endless, isn't it?
Well, I think given the love they've got for the programme
and how many watch it every week,
the fact that they can come and now touch it
and feel it and sense it and smell it, I think it's brilliant. Yes.
And there is, as you say, so much variety.
Everyone who loves the countryside will find something to do.
Well, we are surrounded here by farming,
food and the very best of British produce.
But given that some of our most famous British products like
Welsh lamb and Cornish pasties are protected under European law,
what happens when we leave the EU? Well, Charlotte's been finding out.
I'm not just sitting around eating, honest.
Although, I really wouldn't mind if this were my lunch.
We have the best of British here.
From Stilton cheese to Melton Mowbray pork pies
and West Country farmhouse cheddar
and to wash it all down, some Kentish ale.
These are just some of the foods produced here in Britain
which are protected by EU laws.
So how important are those laws to the people who produce these foods?
And what would it mean for us, the consumers, if those laws are lost?
It's called the protected food name scheme
and it ensures under European law that certified foods
can only be made in a certain way and in certain places.
For Richard Enderby here in Grimsby, membership of the scheme
is invaluable protection against copycat produces.
Well, I've been here 40 years.
Yeah. And the building is 100 years old.
Right. But this process that we do is unchanged for 150 years.
Really? And is that important?
Well, yeah, that's what we're all about.
The majority of smoked fish these days is kiln smoked,
which is quite a different process.
People will assume that it's perhaps been smoked in
a smokehouse like this, where actually it's done in a big oven.
So, for you, it's more about protecting your product
than promoting it?
The whole line... the quality of fish we use,
we just use a natural brine, not a colour brine,
that's smoked for a minimum of 12 hours, up to 18 hours,
depending on the time of year,
where a kiln-smoked is in and out in three or four hours.
We're sort of a very niche product and people need to understand that
and the fact that it takes more work to produce.
Have you ever used it?
Have you ever had to say to somebody, "You can't say that is
"Grimsby traditional smoked because it isn't"? Oh, yeah.
Not only do you have people pretending
that it's Grimsby traditionally smoked fish,
I've known cases where they've pretended it was
Enderby's Grimsby traditionally smoked fish.
That's why it needs to be policed very carefully.
And I think that's again where the government comes in
and Trading Standards.
They've got to be on top of this and sort of be quite vigilant
that this sort of thing isn't going on.
Richard's fish is one of 72 protected food names here in the UK,
alongside famous names like Scotch whisky,
Cornish clotted cream and Stilton cheese.
The scheme also includes some foods you may not be so familiar with.
Things like Fenland celery, Kent Golding hops or Teviotdale cheese.
These regional specialities tell
the story of Britain's culinary heritage,
so wouldn't the quality speak for itself
even if they were to lose EU protection?
Guess where I am?
The small Leicestershire town of Melton got protection for
the Melton Mowbray pork pie.
Now off the back of that they've developed a pie festival,
a cheese festival and a food festival.
They now reckon that food tourism is worth ?70 million a year.
So they really don't want to lose that protected status.
The food we enjoy in these islands is as diverse
as the landscape itself.
And in these parts, it's Matthew O'Callaghan
who's helping to protect Britain's most famous pie.
So what have these geographical protections given you?
What difference have they made? There's two things.
One is it means that the recipe is protected.
So it guarantees that what people buy
is a genuine Melton Mowbray pork pie.
The other thing it does is to protect the production
to a particular area.
And for us in Melton Mowbray,
that is an important part of our rural economy.
So in a couple of years' time when we come out of the
European Union, you could lose this scheme.
Would you like a new scheme or just this one brought over?
I think we'd like something new and there's no reason why
the UK scheme would not be recognised within the EU.
For example, Columbian coffee -
Columbia has its own scheme and the European scheme recognises
Columbian coffee as a protected food name within Europe.
There will be lots of people who really don't see the point,
does it really matter exactly how the pie is made?
It does matter.
You're linking a product with an area, with a heritage,
with a way of producing that pie that's been made for 100, 200 years.
UK protected food names are worth over ?1 billion.
They're extremely important in terms of exports.
They're extremely important in terms of jobs in a locality.
Not only do we have Melton Mowbray pork pies in this area worth
60 million, we have Stilton cheese, again worth another 60 million.
Those are a lot of jobs in this area,
so it is important for small rural areas.
It hasn't all been plain sailing.
The scheme's hit the headlines a number of times.
High street giants Greggs
were famously forced to change the name of their Cornish pasty after
the Cornish Pasty Association won their protection in 2011.
And that same legal clout can be invaluable to small producers.
It's the only thing stopping people putting
"Grimsby traditionally smoked fish" on a box of kiln-smoked fish is
the fact that it's a protected name.
Matthew O'Callaghan agrees.
If the scheme's lost, it's customers who could lose out.
What I think will happen is that people will make cheaper products,
imitations. The customer actually is going to be deceived.
The other thing is I think we will lose an important part
of our food heritage.
And that's really important because not only is it the heritage
but it's the skills, for example, cheese making,
pie making, that go into producing these iconic foods.
But not everyone thinks these changes will be a disaster.
Later on I'll be meeting the producers who see real opportunities
on the road ahead.
Back at Countryfile Live and Matt's got a thirst on.
Does anyone want a drink? ALL: Yeah!
Apparently the drinks are on the landlord.
John, can I have 250 pints of the finest and a packet of crisps?
Better have a big chequebook.
Don't believe anybody when they say it's free.
John, is this everything you would have hoped for in your own pub,
the Craven Arms?
It is. If only for a few days to have a pub of my own.
Listen... Be very careful. ..I'm going to drink to that.
Do you know what I've always wanted to say behind a bar like this?
Get out of ma pub!
Don't think much of the landlord. Only joking. I'll see you later.
We're here in the grounds of Blenheim Place,
setting for our first ever Countryfile Live -
a celebration of the best of the British countryside,
bringing together people from all walks of rural life.
Countryfile Live is one the most ambitious country shows ever staged.
So join me for an exclusive peek behind the scenes.
One of the highlights of Countryfile Live is the heavy horse display.
Magnificent animals, always hugely popular with the crowds,
and I'm heading behind the arena for a close up look.
Back here, there is stabling for 20 horses
and they'll be appearing here over the next four days.
I'm here to meet the only six shire horse team in the country
belonging to Elspeth. Here we go. Hi, Elspeth. Hello.
Can I give you a hand? We haven't got long till the arena.
Not long at all. What can I do?
Would you like to put this chain through the carrier at the back?
Yeah. It's heavy, isn't it? What incredibly heavy kit they wear.
It's outstanding. Yeah, it's got to be heavy for them
to pull the heavy drays. There we go.
How long does it take to get set up? Erm...
Well, it's lots of hours beforehand, but on the day,
probably an hour and a half to harness up.
If you'd like to put the ribbon on his tail for me.
Just around the tail?
Just round here and then nice neat bow. At the very top.
Oh, good boy.
What a lot of kit.
Come on, then.
'Well, that's Harvey dressed to impress.
'And his pals look pretty good too.
'A magnificent sight.
'The only six horse team of shires in the country.'
Centre stage at the food court,
celebrity chefs are cooking up a storm.
But I want to meet the hidden army of backstage helpers
who keep the show on the boil.
With access all areas,
I'm following my nose now cos there's some interesting
delightful smells coming from backstage.
It's not quite showtime yet.
Look, this is pretty sparkling clean in here.
Nearly showtime, Victoria. You're busy back here. Hello.
How you doing? Yes. Good, thank you. Yeah, very busy.
Do you want to get involved? Yeah, what can I do?
If you could grate this cucumber, please, on this side.
This is for a lamb dish for Brian later on.
Not many people know about your job - it's a home economist.
Home economist, yeah. What does that involve?
So we're responsible for getting everything ready for the live
demonstrations that are happening during the course of the day.
Cos people see TV chefs and they don't realise they have
all this wonderful help in the background.
Yeah, it's very much... The unsung heroes of the day.
Behind the scenes, yeah, absolutely.
I mean, sometimes they give us a shoutout to show their appreciation,
but, yeah, it's absolutely behind the scenes.
That's quite nice. We can just get on with it.
I think it's about time they were celebrated for this hard work.
Food is a big hit with the crowds, but one of the biggest draws
of Countryfile Live is a spectacular live show...
..a dazzling look at the countryside through the changing seasons.
There's colour, costumes,
dizzying acrobatics and the odd familiar face.
Applause for Anita and John. Thank you, everybody.
You're about to get in this fabulous combine harvester.
Are you feeling nervous? You're going into the big arena.
I've never been on a combine harvester.
Adam's been on a few, haven't you? He'll be all right.
'Yup, all us Countryfile presenters take their turn in the arena.
'The show has been created by Cirque Bijou.
'I'm catching up with their Creative Director Julian Bracey.'
Amazing set, all this, isn't it? The incredible sun.
Yeah, we had this sun made just for this weekend,
just in case it wasn't actually sunny.
But now we've got glorious sunshine. Don't even need it.
But it's looking good.
How do you then translate Countryfile the programme
into Countryfile the big show on stage?
What was your brief?
Well, just to try and include a little bit of everything
that's in the programme.
And to keep it fun and quite a big family show.
So we just wanted to create a bit of spectacle, so there's
another element to the whole festival.
I'm looking forward to this bit.
'I'm meeting champion beatboxer Grace Savage
'whose only instrument is her mouth.'
Hello. Into your office. Welcome. Thanks very much.
You are perhaps the most surprising part of the Countryfile show.
We've got a beatboxer. Yes. And that's...
'Grace beatboxes to accompany the show.'
She can do sheep and even elephants.
And then I'll put a beat behind it.
UPBEAT MUSIC STARTS
Elephant at the end. That is amazing.
And that was just a quick demo for us.
Just a little demo, yeah.
This is something new for the Countryfile audience. Good.
And holding the whole menagerie together is farmer for the day
actor Richard Headen.
The crowd's really enjoying it.
Yeah, it's probably not what they expected.
I don't think it's what any of us expected.
That's what so enjoyable about it is the surprise element...
I think so. ..the fact there's some modern touches there.
Blenheim Palace is the perfect backdrop for Countryfile Live.
The grounds were laid out in the 18th century by Capability Brown,
Britain's most famous landscape designer.
This genius of the picturesque
planted trees to picture-frame his views and guide the eye.
More than two centuries on and these now mature beauties still do
exactly as their designer intended because this place is magical.
But old Capability could never have foreseen the role his woods
would play here at Countryfile Live.
They've become a paradise for children playing,
learning and gaining confidence in nature.
That's it. Nice steady speed. Keep coming.
I'll tell you if you go too fast.
But away from the showground, at a secret site on the estate,
his 200 acres of astonishing woodland.
Fenced off a millennium ago for King Henry I's private hunting
pleasure, the woods have remained untouched by man ever since
and hidden deep within are 800 massive and ancient oaks.
Magnificent, isn't it?
Some of these trees are more than 1,000 years old.
There are more ancient oaks here than anywhere else on Earth,
and they command our respect.
These woods are strictly off limits, except for today.
Follow me into the enchanted forest.
Once a year, foresters Christian Halbert and Nick Baimbridge
fight their way through the chest-high bracken
to perform health checks on the oldest trees.
Made it. Anita. Lovely to see you.
Hi. I'm Nick. Hi, Nick. Hey, how you doing? Hey.
Good to see you. You too.
Wow! What a place! Yes, a little gem.
Isn't this incredible?
I mean, it just sort of takes your breath away when you think about
that this place existed.
You're looking around at trees that have been here
before America was even discovered.
It's just left to its own, just hidden, nothing's touched.
So what are we here to do?
I know you guys have got your kit. Yep.
We're here surveying the oaks, checking on the condition of them,
checking that they're not dying back,
looking at different fungus and fruiting bodies on there and
looking at work that we need to do to keep them going, keep them alive.
'One tree that Nick and Christian
'really need to check is the so-called King Oak,
'not the oldest, but one of the finest of the ancient oaks here.'
Wow, let me just take this beast in!
That is incredible.
'But how old is this tree?
'We can't take a look at tree rings, so a tape measure around
'the belly is needed to establish the age of this portly monarch.'
Gah, this one's enormous!
Right, what have we got? Nine metres.
Yes, so how old is that?
Nine metres would put this tree at over 900 years old.
Well, they say an oak tree spends 300 years growing,
300 years living and then spends the last 300 years dying back,
and it is inevitable, but there are others that will take over,
and as long as we can keep it going, the better.
'900 years is a remarkable lifespan,
'but there are trees here that are even older.
'To give them the best chance of survival, Nick and Christian
'remove young trees nearby that would
'steal their light and nutrients.'
So this looks like it needs to come out fairly urgently.
This ash tree is actually growing right through the canopy
and shading off this side of the tree.
It's only going to get taller. Pop that on. Thank you. Absolutely.
There she goes.
Good job, Nick, that was super swift. Doesn't take long.
And in the meantime, you've cleared up the...
Yes, it's got us light. It's got the light.
And it can carry on for another 200 years. Yeah. Good job, boys.
That these oaks have escaped the axe is little short of a miracle.
To be among the these age-old giants is an extraordinary
and humbling feeling. Magical.
Back at the showground, and Matt's with some friends in the Dog Arena.
COMMENTARY ON TANNOY
Well, one of the focuses of Countryfile Live is of course
man's best friend, and one of MY good friends is Peter Purvis.
Hi, Matt. It's always lovely to see you, Peter. And you, mate.
You're looking after the whole dog ring section here for us.
Yeah, we have got an arena with everything.
These are just three of the exhibits that we're showing.
These are rare breeds.
This is an otterhound, it's got no function any more,
so you wonder how they manage to exist at all.
We've got a little Sealyham terrier here. Hello down there.
This is a ratter, proper terrier, working. Keep the barns clean.
This one's a clumber spaniel, again, very different from
the show clumber, these are very fit, good working dogs.
Absolutely. A good gundog.
And really, the focus of the dogs here at Countryfile Live,
this is about dogs with jobs, working dogs. Exactly that.
And also, people coming here,
they've got training tips and all that,
and in the ring, if you brought your own dog here,
you can take it in there, you get training tips.
"I've got a dog that pulls on the lead." "We'll fix it." It's great.
We've got a wonderful dog display team as well,
the Essex Dog Display Team, we've got some great stuff going on.
You're in your element, then, Peter. Oh, I'm loving it, loving it!
It's fantastic. See, everybody hanging on
your every word, Peter, even the otterhound.
We've been hearing that Britain's protected foods could be
at risk if the laws surrounding them change when we leave Europe.
But for some producers, a relaxing of the rules could be
a real benefit, as Charlotte has been finding out.
Under the scheme,
producers must rename their product if it infringes on someone else's.
And that is what happened to this family cheese-making business.
I'm in North Yorkshire,
where award-winning cheese producer Judy Bell makes a feta cheese.
But under the scheme, she's not allowed to call it that.
After an 11-year legal battle over Greece's claim to the same name,
what was once Yorkshire Feta is now Yorkshire Fettle.
What impact did it have then? Well, it lost its authenticity as a feta.
People saw the word "fettle" and thought,
"What on earth is this?"
So, basically, we did lose sales in those early days, until we could
actually do more marketing and more pushing of the brand.
Isn't that fair enough? Feta is a Greek cheese,
just like Stilton comes from the East Midlands.
The word "feta" is an Italian word which means "fresh slice".
But we were actually branding it "Yorkshire Feta".
It is a generic recipe really,
it's a way to make a pickled cheese,
which is what we were doing. We're going to leave the EU.
Is that your chance to revive Yorkshire Feta?
After the battle we've had, getting that name out and about, no,
I think we will hopefully
be able to put the word "feta-style" on,
which we haven't been able to do over the last few years,
so it will identify the product better for the consumer.
So, what is the government's plan for the scheme?
Well, DEFRA told us, "We are still a member of the EU,
"and so protected food name status remains in place as normal."
They go on.
"We'll work to ensure they continue to benefit from
"protection in the future."
Now of course, what that doesn't address is what priority -
if any - protected food names might get in Brexit negotiations,
or what any new British scheme might look like.
'To find out, I have come to meet the British man who played
'a leading role in the scheme's formation in the 1980s.
'He's food policy expert Professor Tim Lang.'
You were involved in this scheme almost before it started,
did you always think it would work?
I was a bit of a sceptic, I thought, "Why are we doing this?
"What's the point of it?"
"This is big Europe trying to rescue
"something from the embers of a fire."
But actually, over time,
I've become more interested in it and more committed to it.
It does actually enable us to encourage
some authentic food production,
but the British didn't engage with it very much,
the rest of the European Union dived in very quickly.
But latterly, we have got more interested in it as a country.
So now then, should we change the scheme, develop it a bit?
Or should we just bring what Europe's got over?
Well, it would be very easy, pragmatic, just to lift over
the European scheme and move it in and say, "This is British."
But is that the answer to what we need
in food and countryside relations? No. It isn't.
The mass food, the scale of the food system, means that these
little local identities are very small,
but they're symbolically very important, and that is why
it's an issue worth bothering about, indeed fighting about.
So what does the head of the UK Protected Foods Names Association
think the future holds?
This could actually herald a sort of flourishing
of British heritage foods.
We could actually see our products being promoted both locally,
regionally, we could see that link between food and tourism -
which in a number of areas could actually boost rural economies -
we could actually see those crafts and those skills which go
into those foods promoted and protected, because unless
you have the ingredients, the crafts and the skills and the people
with that knowledge, you don't produce iconic foods.
It's an opportunity, and I think we have to seize it.
It's clear that a great deal of political untangling
will need to take place in the next few years, and it could be
much longer before the impact on the food industry is fully realised.
Brand Great Britain is arguably one of our strongest assets,
and for those producers who want them, there will be
economic opportunities beyond Europe's borders.
But for most of these small producers, it will be UK consumers -
you and I - who decide their fates
as everything around them changes. So, watch this space.
Here at Countryfile Live, the crowds are building up.
From the Dog Arena to the livestock rings, there's a buzz going around.
And it's all because of this.
where lumberjacks go head-to-head in a show of skill and strength.
Big in America and catching on here,
let's hope these two know what they're letting themselves in for.
Come on, guys, up you get. Ladies and gents, here we go.
Tom Heap and Adam Henson from BBC Countryfile.
Now, this is a big contest for Tom.
Last summer he took on Adam in a tough pole-climbing challenge...
and Adam won.
Now, Tom's looking to get even and level the score.
But it won't be easy.
Well, a very good afternoon from us all here at the Timbersports Arena.
We give you now a battle of brains, brawn and stamina,
as Tom "The Hatchet" Heap locks horns with Adam "The Axeman" Henson
in a mighty display of awe-inspiring lumberjackery.
Did you say 75% Rob, 25% Adam? No, actually it's the other way around.
The hapless pair are being taken under the wing of
British champions Rob Chatley and Elgan Pugh.
First contest is the double bucksaw.
The technique requires rhythm and strength,
so that's Tom and Adam stuffed.
Timers ready! Contestants ready!
Three, two, one, go!
Let's make some noise, people, let's get right behind these guys.
Really putting their backs into it.
Pretty close. Who's going to get it?
Adam and Rob clinch it, but Tom and Elgan aren't far behind.
Oh, it's exhausting. How easy was it?
Er, how easy? I think you mean how difficult.
How difficult was it?
It was very, very difficult, it's an extraordinary...
The strength and the agility of these men to do this sport.
I've never seen anything like it actually.
Rob clearly a great coach and an enormous man.
It is one of those technique things, isn't it?
You think you've got it, and they make it look so easy,
as well as pulling me towards the log!
So how about the individual singles? Oh, no!
What do we think, audience? It would only be fair, wouldn't it? No.
We can't let them escape this easy,
we don't get such great celebrities on our stage very often.
The boys now go head-to-head with no help from the champions.
With its vicious teeth, the single buck
is the great white of wood saws.
In the right hands - not Tom or Adam's - it'll make sawdust
of the toughest trunk.
Can Tom even the score?
Timers ready! Contestants ready!
Three, two, one, go!
Come on, Tom! Come on, Adam!
This is going to be really close.
SHOUTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Very, very close.
Ohh! A dead heat!
Look at that time. That's absolutely awesome.
It's too close to call. Let's see that again in slow motion.
We've got to wait for the referee's decision.
Tom wins - by a splinter.
For once! A big round of applause for these...
It's taken a year, but Tom levels the score. 1-1.
Well done, Tom, congratulations, fantastic. To be continued.
And the competitive spirit doesn't end there.
Matt's got a challenge of his own.
Right, so, I get three wellies, and all I have to try and do
is stand on this pad here and throw one welly into one ring.
And it has to obviously then stay within it.
It has got to be completely in the ring.
No. In the pink? Yeah, in the centre. Ah, I'm with you.
Oh, yeah, you got that one. Got a prize. What have I got? Oh, lovely.
I will put them on for the last one. Here we go.
Ohh. Ah, well, I'm happy with these. Thanks.
It's fantastic to see so many people enjoying themselves at the show.
But what must it be like having Countryfile Live
in your back garden?
I'm meeting up with His Grace, the 12th Duke of Marlborough,
the man who calls Blenheim Palace his home.
It must be a huge task to look after 2,000 acres and the palace.
Well, my late father always used to say it's
a re-enactment of the Battle of Blenheim.
With more pounds, shillings and pence. Yeah, I can imagine.
Yeah, it is, it's somewhat daunting sometimes,
and I get very thwarted
by the sheer magnitude of having to keep it going.
What I want to do is to leave it better than I found it,
and that's all I can do.
And I will do as much as I can to pass this legacy on.
Well, we've just seen Adam in action over at
the Timbersports Arena, but just a few days ago,
he was on much more familiar ground, here in Oxfordshire,
looking at some of the county's own breeds.
If only you two were one of them.
I am fascinated by the way the landscape
has shaped our livestock, and the way we farm to produce breeds
that are particular to individual places.
There are only two Oxfordshire breeds,
but they're both very important to me.
At one time, the Oxford Sandy and Black pig
was thought to be extinct,
but then they found a small herd of them.
And there were sceptics at the time,
and I have to say, I was one of them.
The Oxford Sandy and Black is a ginger pig with black spots,
with semi-floppy ears, and I thought they were probably
a cross between a Gloucester and a Tamworth.
But now, I've been invited to a farm in Oxfordshire where
they're going to prove to me that I'm completely wrong,
and the Oxford Sandy and Black is a very pure breed, and doing well.
The Oxford Sandy Black Society
believed there were still
pure bloodlines left unregistered.
Peter Colson from the society was convinced,
and has been working hard to protect these pure lines.
Hi, Peter. Hello, Adam, pleased to meet you. And you, and you.
What a lovely litter of piglets. How much has she got? She has got 11.
They are a tricoloured breed, aren't they? Yes.
So ginger, black and white? Yes.
The ginger can be very sandy, or really dark red.
I find it fascinating that there's all these different breeds
specific to a region or a county.
So we've got the Gloucestershire Old Spot,
and then right next door, the Oxford Sandy and Black.
Why were they so distinct?
The Sandy and Blacks were in the forest, acorn and beechnut eaters,
and foragers, and they were camouflaged in the forest.
The Gloucesters were kept in the orchards, weren't they?
To eat the apples and graze.
When was their heyday? I think after the war really, '40s and '50s,
when people were short of meat.
They were cheap and easy to keep.
What makes you so passionate about the breed?
Well, it's a family tradition really.
My grandfather had them, and he died when I was eight,
and I can remember the pigs in the yard.
Do you think he will be looking down on you with a smile on his face?
He never smiled.
Have you got all the herd-books and all that?
Yes, we have, in the house we've got everything.
Let's go take a look, shall we? Yeah, love to, let's take a look.
'Peter has kept all of the herd-books going right back to
'the society's formation in 1985.
'Geneticist Dr Rex Walters was president
'when they had a breakthrough.'
Oh, pleased to meet you. Pleased to meet you, Adam, hello.
And how rare were they then?
Well, there were only 15 bulls listed in the original book.
15 bulls alive in total? Yep, and 55 sows.
So I suppose using the herd-books and then your scientific research,
this is where you've made your discoveries?
Absolutely, yes. Show me the work then.
Right, well, this is just showing all the different diversity,
all the variation between all the different breeds,
and we can look at the breeds and see all that diversity.
It's trying to get beyond that,
so we're looking at the secrets of the gene.
So when you looked at the Oxford genes, the DNA of the Oxford,
it was distinct? It was totally distinct, yes.
So this is the DEFRA statement.
"The results showed that it was possible to distinguish
"these pigs from the other pig breeds
"with a high degree of certainty."
Here it is, I'm absolutely convinced now
that they are a pure breed. That's brilliant, isn't it?
It is, it's a fantastic story.
Well, I think it's wonderful that the Oxford Sandy and Black
has been formally recognised using up-to-date technology,
and now, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and passionate breeders
like Peter can carry on their good work
securing the future of these really lovely pigs.
I may have been sceptical about the existence
of the Oxford Sandy and Black,
but there's another Oxfordshire County breed
which I've never doubted.
In fact, it holds a very special place in my heart.
To encourage us to get into rare breeds conservation,
my dad bought me and my three older sisters a breed each.
And mine was the Exmoor Pony,
but I soon realised there wasn't much cash in ponies,
so I persuaded him to get me a breed of sheep,
and we went for the Oxford Down, and I distinctly remember choosing them.
They were absolutely enormous, with big, woolly topknots.
I don't actually have any Oxford Down sheep any more,
so I'm excited to be visiting Rex Vincent and his family,
with his prize-winning flock in Witney.
Hello, Rex. Hello, Adam, how are you? Good to see you.
Yeah, very well, thank you. How many Oxfords have you got, then?
Well, they're my daughters' sheep really, they've got about eight.
So remind me of the finer points of an Oxford, then,
what makes a good one?
Well, I've got one here that's been reasonably successful at the show.
A perfect example, has he done well, then?
Yeah, he's unbeaten in his class and he has a championship
and a reserve championship to his name. Goodness me.
What makes him so good, then, Rex?
Well, he stands well at the front here, he's nice and white
at the front here, and he's white all the way through.
No dips in the back, he's solid. That is really solid, isn't it?
And the wool was important in the breed, wasn't it?
When they were first created,
they had one eye on the meat and another eye on the wool trade,
and being so close to Witney and the Witney blanket factory
round here, the wool was quite important.
And although they've got back legs and ears and noses,
you mustn't have any black wool in the body, must you?
No, no black wool, it is quite a fault if you've got
a lot of black in your sheep. Because dark wool can't be dyed.
That's right, and your wool is worthless. I remember showing them,
and they're quite particular about their ears at show, aren't they?
Yeah, the ears need to come straight out and they need
a little bit of wool on them.
The topknot's very important, that goes back to the days when,
if you'd bought a ram that had been shorn,
that was the sample of your wool.
We haven't had them on the farm for quite some time now, and I must say,
they are lovely sheep, this is great to see them again.
Let's pop him back in the pen, shall we?
'Rex's daughter Jolie is getting one of her sheep ready for
'an upcoming show, and she's going to show me
'how she prepares the animal to make it look its best.'
So what's the first stage?
Well, first we shear them quite early on in the year,
about February, and then we wait for the wool to grow a bit,
and we wash them down.
Not too much soap, because it makes the wool quite soft
and hard to trim.
And then we fluff them up, just makes them look a bit more even.
Then with the hand trimmers, let me show you how you do that.
I was always told that you should hold one still and the other moves,
so it should just come like that, which is quite difficult to do.
Mm. And then as you're moving across, the one should move,
and the other one trim, so you're just gently...
Like that. It takes forever, doesn't it?
But quite satisfying when you get it right. Yes.
I've probably just messed this up now, you're going to lose.
I'll fix it later.
Well, it's really brilliant seeing these Oxfordshire breeds thriving.
I'm delighted that the Oxford Sandy and Black pig has done so well
and wasn't lost forever, and it's brilliant that
the Oxford Down sheep are inspiring the next generation of shepherds,
just like they did for me all those years ago.
JOHN CRAVEN: No country show would be complete,
of course, without animals,
and here at Countryfile Live, there are plenty on show -
everything from shire horses to working dogs.
And even a bird in hand. How about this? A beautiful buzzard.
I've come to the show's Wildlife Zone to meet somebody who's
brought lots of birds of prey and owls for people to see.
Well, hello, James. Hello there, John.
Well, why do you think it is important
to bring birds like this to the show?
Because most people never get this close to them,
and if you are that close, you can just feel the majesty of this bird.
It's just the wow factor, isn't it?
And I think for young people particularly,
when they see something like this close up,
they realise what we've got to conserve.
And is this a male or a female? This is a female. Got a name?
She is called Esther. And what's Esther's story?
She was brought to us in 1990 by a police officer who had taken
it from someone who had taken her from the wild,
and she's been with us ever since.
So she'll be well over 25 years old.
She's probably the best part of 30,
because she was already fully feathered, and that means
that she was probably two or three when we got her, maybe a bit older.
So we like to think she's about 30 years old.
Buzzards are relatively common these days, aren't they?
But they didn't used to be.
No, when I was a little boy, if you saw one of these,
it was like finding a unicorn.
And we used to stop the car and just marvel at the fact
that there was one there.
Now, this is the most common of all the raptors in the UK.
And is Esther any good as a hunter?
JAMES LAUGHS No.
These are idle birds, they really are.
On a really good day, she will catch you a nice, big, fat slug to eat...
But here you've got the real hunter. This is a Harris's Hawk.
This is Charlie.
These come from the Arizona desert,
and these really are superb predators.
And do you use him for any special purpose?
He helps us with rabbit control,
he helps us get rid of lots of pests in the countryside.
And do you think we've bonded? She's been very well-behaved.
I think you have been a very good apprentice today, John.
Well done. Thank you.
'And that's a term that has always been used for novice falconers.
'Now, Blenheim Palace has a series of beautiful lakes
'created by Capability Brown.
'But beneath the surface, all is not well.
'They're silting up badly,
'and making the situation worse is invasive Canadian pondweed,
'which, if left unchecked, will completely choke them.
'And it's another of our feathered friends, the mallard duck,
'that's been drafted in to help.
'For Blenheim's property director Roger File,
'the silting is now a serious threat,
'and I've come for a boat ride with him to discover more.'
Well, this is such a beautiful setting, isn't it, Roger? Yeah.
You'd never guess there was a problem. Just how bad is it?
Well, when the lake was originally built,
it was about 2.1 metres deep in this area, which is known as
Queen's Pool, now 70% of this area is 30 centimetres or less...
Wow. ..in depth.
Can you show me? I can show you with this oar here quickly.
You can see the blade there, that's now resting on the bottom. Wow.
You can see how shallow it is,
it comes up to about this deep from the bottom of the oar.
There's relatively hardly any water here on this beautiful lake.
75% of the volume of this part of the lake is now silt.
So what can you do about it? Take the silt out.
We're, at the moment, working out what is the best way to
scoop it out and spread it elsewhere on the estate.
And what can you do to prevent any more silt being created?
A number of things.
We can build in silt traps upstream to stop it being washed down,
and we can also use natural methods such as the mallards and the geese
and the swans that you see here to keep the weeds under control,
which stops the water being slowed down and the silt then building up.
Canadian pond weed is a real treat for mallards,
so hundreds of them have been recruited to keep it under control.
Today, I'm joining estate manager Roy Cox to release 50 more
into a secluded part of the lakes.
They're all very young ones, aren't they?
Yeah, these are all about eight weeks old, John. Uh-huh.
And they'll stay here for a few months over the summer,
and once they've grown, they'll then leave us.
And what impact have the ducks that you've already released had?
So they've started grazing the pondweed.
There's plenty more further downstream for these 50
that we're releasing.
Well, shall we let the first ones go? Absolutely, let's do it.
Off you go, boys and girls.
The pondweed's further down there!
Back at the showground, Matt's on the other side of the lake.
Well, down here at the water's edge, there are
so many things that families can try for the very first time.
Look, we've got families out canoeing there
and there's a lot of fishing going here, because, Sarah,
this is all about getting hooked on fishing.
Getting hooked on fishing, that's right.
What we are providing here is not only actual fishing out on
the lake there, but also a great opportunity for the families
to come and have some fun, try a few angling skills,
compete against yourself, compete against your friends,
your family, with all of our little casting games and throwing games.
Oh, look, so we have got their dads and sons, mums and daughters,
they're all having a go, and the idea, then, is obviously to cast
the little ball that's on the end of the rod into one of these buckets.
Into one of the buckets, that's right.
That was a good one. That's fabulous. Did you just get that in?
I saw that - that was magic.
Now, can you do it again with the pressure of the telly cameras?
I think you can. Here we go.
Here at Countryfile Live,
there are big sections of the show devoted to British farming.
The industry has just had one of its toughest years,
and one of the hardest hit sectors - pork production.
British pig farmers are struggling.
Returns are at their lowest for more than 16 years, but here at
Countryfile Live, there are a group of ladies
who are hoping to change all that.
Meet Ladies in Pigs, also known as LIPs.
Their mission - to put British pork back on the map and our plates.
Sue Woodall is their chairwoman.
It's all going on here, Sue, there's cooking, there's trailers,
there's all sorts of people. What's going on?
What we do is, we go to events and we take our recipe book that
we're giving away free today, and we cook all different parts of the pig.
So we're doing a mince recipe, we're doing bacon brownies,
sweet potato and coconut casserole with pork in,
and we give the public tasters all day, ask them to try it, and then
talk about where to buy British pork, how to buy British pork.
A lot of our ladies are pig farmers, involved in the pig industry,
and they're just passionate about British farming.
Sally, Sally Stockings, I've got to say, it's such a fantastic name,
you are a pig farmer, aren't you? Yes, I am.
The industry has had a really tough time of late, why is that?
It was a sort of perfect storm really.
We had a ban of British and European pork into Russia,
we then had an oversupply of pork in Europe, with a strong pound,
resulted in a flood of European and foreign meat into this country.
And that was causing us to lose about ?10 a pig.
But it's getting better.
It's an improving picture, we like to hear that. It is, it is.
Breaking down the barriers between producers and consumers
is what Ladies in Pigs is all about.
That same ethos is also behind the explosive rise in street food -
fresh food cooked with care and served straight up to the customer
by street vendors.
And in street food circles, it pays to stand out from the crowd.
These guys take their cue straight from the pages
of classic British literature.
Hello there, gentlemen.
I'm going to ask a terrible question -
"what the dickens" is going on?
What we do in our small way is to draw some attention to some
of these old-fashioned British recipes that maybe people
have forgotten about a bit.
Where did the idea come from?
Well, it was originally a bit of a daft idea that we had, but it
was partly inspired by reading old books like PG Wodehouse novels.
So what's this you're cooking here? This is our devilled pork.
Shoulder of Gloucester Old Spot,
which is roasted over a period of hours,
and we've put on a devilled sauce, which is about... It's about
a 200-year-old recipe containing mustard and cayenne pepper.
Those are the staples of devilled sauce.
"Devilled" is an old-fashioned word meaning spicy.
That looks like kedgeree. Is that what that is?
That's indeed kedgeree. I love kedgeree.
What's the history of that dish?
Kedgeree is an Anglo-Indian dish,
I guess originally developed by British people living in India
who, I think, were adapting a local dish called khichuri,
which is a rice and lentil dish, and the British people put fish in it.
We're making it with smoked haddock.
That's become the kind of classic kedgeree,
particularly associated with the Victorian era.
Can I have a sample of that? Absolutely. Mmm.
Smells so good over here. How wonderful is that? Fresh parsley.
Ohh, don't mind if I do, thank you very much.
Oh, that smells amazing.
That is absolutely delicious.
We've been bringing you the very best
of our first ever Countryfile Live -
a celebration of the British countryside from
the magnificent setting of Blenheim Palace.
So that is pretty much it, Ellie. It was good, it was good.
What a day it's been.
We've had wildlife, rare breeds, British farming...
There was the arena shows,
it's all been very inspirational stuff,
and if you've missed any of it,
here's a look back at some of the best bits.
ALL: Three, two, one... Wahey!
What a beautiful day here at Blenheim Palace.
MUSIC: Rather Be by Clean Bandit
This is the first time we've ever tried anything on this scale,
so it's fantastic to see so many people here.
Right, we're going to run.
Isn't this just the weirdest thing ever?
Never thought I would see the day. Heap Way. Or is it Heap Wa-hey?
Three, two, one, go!
Does anyone want a drink?
Apparently, the drinks are on the landlord.
Do you know what I have always wanted to say
behind a bar like this?
Get out of ma pub!
Don't think much of the landlord. Only joking. I'll see you later.
Chocolate mint. And the mint's salty.
Is the mint salty?
I have found THE most glamorous woman on telly.
As if! Hello! Hello!
Yeah! That's more like it. Big round of applause for Anita and John.
Thank you, everybody.
Well, that is all we have got time for this week.
If you haven't managed to make it down to Countryfile Live,
the plan is to do it all again next year,
so fingers crossed we will see you again at another big live show.
We are looking forward to it already.
Now, next week, the programme will be in Wiltshire,
with rare access to Stonehenge.
And John and the rest of the judges from
the Countryfile Photographic Competition
will be whittling down the thousands
of entries to the final 12. Don't miss it.
Speaking of John... Yeah?
..let's get to the Craven Arms.
Oh-ho, let's have a swifty on the way home. Right.
The first ever Countryfile Live took place in the magnificent grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire - four days in the sunshine celebrating the best of the British Countryside. Matt kicks the programme off with a whistlestop tour of the show, mixing and mingling with exhibitors and visitors, and he calls in at the Craven Arms, Countryfile Live's very own pub.
Ellie goes behind the scenes to see what goes into setting up a show on this scale, and she also chats with the Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim's owner, to find out what it is like having such a big show in your garden.
Anita steps away from the showground to get up close to some truly magnificent oak trees, many of them more than a thousand years old. John takes to the water to see how ducks are helping restore Blenheim's beautiful ornamental lakes, while Tom and Adam go head to head at the timbersports arena in a test of strength and speed.
And Charlotte Smith looks at what might happen to British foods protected under EU law and catches up with some producers who are worried they will lose a vital protection and others who see a real opportunity.