Botham in tantrum over car crash radio interview

Hopefully by now you’ve all had a chance to listen to Ian Botham’s masterclass in how not to do a radio interview – the best car crash radio for some time (see here).

Now Botham’s having a tantrum, claiming he was “ambushed by an anti-shooting agenda” and has threatened to boycott the BBC “unless something significant comes of this complaint“. Here’s the article in today’s Times:

Here’s the text:

Sir Ian Botham has threatened never to speak to the BBC again over claims that it ambushed him on air with an “anti-shooting agenda” when he was trying to promote a charity.

The former England cricketer, 61, said he agreed to appear on Radio 5 Live’s breakfast show to talk about his plans to donate 10,000 pheasants and partridges that are shot on his estate to food banks.

The interview turned prickly when Rachel Burden, the presenter, asked him what would have happened to the birds if they were not donated to the Country Food Trust charity.

“The BBC lured me on to their show under false pretences and ambushed me with their anti-shooting agenda”, he told The Times yesterday.

Sir Ian, who was given the nickname Beefy during his playing career and works as a presenter for Sky Sports’ cricket coverage, said that he had been subjected to online abuse since the interview. He has been supported by the Countryside Alliance, which claimed that the BBC had an inherent bias “against the countryside and rural pursuits”.

“Incidents like this appalling treatment of Sir Ian Botham show why people feel this way. The BBC is singularly failing its rural audience”, said Tim Bonner, chief executive of the alliance, which backs bird shooting and has campaigned against the ban on fox hunting with hounds.

During the BBC interview on Monday Sir Ian said that the birds shot from his Sawley Hall estate in North Yorkshire, would have been exported to Europe where game meat is more popular than in England.

Animal rights groups have filmed gamekeepers burying large numbers of dead pheasants because of a lack of demand to eat them locally.

Ms Burden suggested that “a lot of people” had a problem with shooting birds for sport. “Millions of birds, up to 50 million birds, are bred each year to be shot”, she said.

“And how many chickens are shot every year?” Sir Ian retorted. “How many chickens are bred with a six-week life?”

Sir Ian appeared to swear at Ms Burden when she broadened the conversation to include grouse shooting, which has been vehemently opposed by the BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham. The grouse shooting season starts on August 12. “You are f***ing wrong. You are wrong”, he said. “There’s nothing to do with grouse. This is about pheasant and partridge. Pheasant casserole and partridge curry, which we are giving. Now if you have a better solution I am willing to hear it”.

Nicky Campbell, Ms Burden’s co-host, attempted to soothe the conversation by praising Sir Ian’s food bank initiative and then discussed the ethics of hunting lions, which Sir Ian condemned.

Sir Ian told The Times the BBC had tried “to stir up every animal rights controversy they could think of and link it to my name”. He added: “It is now clear to me that the BBC’s approach was part of an anti-shooting agenda and there was never any intention of talking about creative ways to fight poverty.

“I will never be speaking to the BBC again in any capacity unless something significant comes out of this complaint. BBC 5 Live asked me to talk about a charity that is trying to do some good. I agreed in good faith, thinking everyone would want to support our efforts to help people in need”.

The BBC rejected Sir Ian’s complaints last night. “The interview was fair”, said a spokeswoman for the corporation, which is holding a four-day Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Palace today. “We asked a broad range of relevant questions and gave him the fullest opportunity to respond on air”.

The League Against Cruel Sports, an animal rights charity, said that bird shooting was “steeped in cruelty” and accused Sir Ian of trying to “whitewash the reality of shooting”. “The fact that Sir Ian Botham sees nothing wrong with blasting hundreds of game birds out of the sky for fun is a concept rejected by most people in the 21st century”, Philippa King, its chief operating officer, said.




37 Responses to “Botham in tantrum over car crash radio interview”

  1. 1 C B
    August 3, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Perhaps the BBC should offer this clown the 6.30pm comedy spot on Radio 4.

  2. August 3, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Ian Botham……..what a plonker at all levels! He was “ambushed”. How many years’ experience does this man have on the media? When the interviewer made clear she wanted to widen the discussion from “14 million people” who need his help and the “£40,000 it’s costing his company”…….repeated in various forms 4 or 5 times. If he really believed ANY radio station was just going to give him free airtime, maybe he should seek professional counselling. But what a coup for the Beeb……..a self-imposed ban on any further appearances!

  3. 3 Falcon watcher
    August 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Sir beefy botham is the gift that keeps on giving.

  4. August 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    ‘Sir Ian Botham has threatened never to speak to the BBC again’. Let’s hoe he doesn’t and we can be thankful for small mercies.

  5. August 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    The most appropriate one-word response has to be “Diddums!” Having carved out a position as the frontman for game shooting (and DGS in particular) and notorious for his anti-RSPB stance, you really have to be rather dim and have a huge sense of entitlement not to understand that if you’re given a free slot on the radio you may be asked challenging questions.

  6. 6 Paul V Irving
    August 3, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    This is typical of both xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx Botham and the Countryside Areliars who are supporting him. Taking the CA first many of us when we watch the BBC agree there is a bias, usually towards ” country and rural sports ie shooting and hunting” I cannot recall how many times I have sworn at the biased poorly researched shite on Countryfile. The majority of country folk DO NOT SUPPORT THE CA.
    As to Botham he is like a spoiled child chucking toys about the place because he failed to get his own way and was made to look what he is, a boorish prat by competent journalism. One might have hoped they would have asked about lead shot too but you cannot have everything.
    I don’t care whether he withdraws himself from all contact with the BBC, although it will reduce its comedy content and he is a wonderful advert for why many of us oppose the cause he espouses I love his stupid outbursts.
    My only message for Botham who was once righfully our most lauded cricketer but is now just a pantomime angry fool—–When you are in a hole stop digging and GROW UP!

    • 7 Dylanben
      August 3, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      I’d prefer him to keep digging. It gives us a laugh and furthers our cause, especially when he’s on national media. Also, I’m still struggling to understand the business model for his handouts. BOGOF?

  7. 8 Michael Whitehouse
    August 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    I gather that 2 symptoms of ingesting too much lead in your diet are aggressive behavior and irritability.

    I will avoid beefy stew, pheasant casserole and partridge curry, just to be on the safe side.

  8. August 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    “I wwnt onto a BBC programme and instead of letting me say only what I wanted to say, they asked me questions, the bastards!” Oh dear – life is so unfair, isn’t it Mr Botham!

  9. 10 Steve macsweeney
    August 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Without wishing to sound sanctimonious,the BBC has had it’s share of critics in the anti camp.
    It’s stance on this and the Chris Peckham debacle indictes that it is a decent broadcaster, and as such will always attract critics from both sides of the argument.
    In the meantime, you know what I think about the so called .CA, it’s hangers on, Bonehead Botham , Gamekeepers et friggin al.

  10. 11 Gerard
    August 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    This is just a gift. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx. He eats game, the ball should be in his court to prove he hasn’t had his intelligence compromised by eating lead shot birds.

  11. 12 J .Coogan
    August 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    The disappointing thing for me is that the Times printed the prats rant , I think I will stop talking to the Times, that ‘l show them.

  12. August 3, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    If he boycotts the BBC everyone will be better off.

  13. 14 crypticmirror
    August 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Makes a full of himself and then runs of to his pals in the media to try and play the victim and injured party. Must be nice to have money and privilege like that.

  14. August 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Botham threatens Boycott…. and how is that not cricket?

    Looks like the Urbanside Alliance (we know you are not really rural!) are trying to turn the fall out from the car crash interview back to their campaign to attack any celebrity who opposes their minority view.

    I think the BBC should not have drifted onto grouse, they should have focussed in on the food standards issues. How many of the pheasants and partridges have been in a dogs mouth? Were the birds handled in hygienic conditions? Were they shot with lead? How have you screened and removed the lead? How many partridges can a poor person safely eat?

  15. 16 Angry of NI
    August 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Is this the same “gentleman ” who tried to get Chris Packham sacked for publicising the appalling bird carnage in Malta and the criminal activities of many gamekeepers re Hen Harriers. I have absolutely no regards for this mans feelings. Good work the BBC!

  16. 17 SilverBirch
    August 3, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Are the lead shot birds organic, Mr Beefy?

  17. August 3, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Jeremy Clarkson, Vinnie Jones, Guy Ritchie are all in the same mould as Botham, over paid, arrogant and ignorant xxxxxxxxx. Madonna called Ritchie a Neanderthal when they were splitting up, so it says it all about them. That I have no doubt is an insult to Neanderthals

  18. August 3, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Oh how wonderful it would be at the Old Trafford Test match, running coincidentally over Hen Harrier Day (weekend) to her the strains of ‘Grouse, Grouse, Grouse, Grouse,’ sung by the crowd to the tune of Monty Python’s Spam, whilst petulant Beef is doing a Sky Sports interview. I will be at Arne RSPB reserve but surely someone could organise a fancy dress parade of birds Beefy shoots for the sing along moment.

  19. 21 Iain Gibson
    August 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    In Scotland we speak of people like Ian Botham as “a big wean”. A psychiatrist might say he suffers from delusions of grandeur. His claim that £40,000 of his company’s money is “a solution” to the problem of 14 million people living in poverty is even funnier than one of President Trump’s weirder ideas. And of course, one wonders if the £40,000 can be written off against tax on his company tax returns. Cynical is not the word for it.

  20. 22 Elizabeth Payton
    August 3, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    For goodness sake Sir Ian….. How many people needing to use foodbanks would be able to make use of a dead game bird…. Do you know anything about this? Many people dont have much in the way of cooking facilities, never mind the other ingredients etc to make a bird full of lead shot worth eating…

  21. August 3, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Pure arsehole. Trying to sugarcoat blasting birds with his shabbily concealed ‘philanthropy.’ Ashamed that he’s a fellow Yorkshireman.

  22. August 3, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Rachel Burden for a damehood. She hung this bell end out to dry and raised our precious hen harriers!

  23. 29 Anonymous coward
    August 3, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    As a rural land owner myself these words from the Country Alliance make my blood boil:

    “The BBC is singularly failing its rural audience”

    This unholy alliance claim to represent country people. Well they don’t represent me. I hate pheasant shooting. It’s cruel. Talking life for pleasure is the preserve of brutal savages. The estate next to me kill all the native foxes in the area such that rabbits multiply and riot, eating all the young plants in their attempts to turn their environment into a rabbit-friendly plain. And then there’s the bloody noise. Many of the dogs around the estate cower or bolt (ours bolts). Who said the countryside was peaceful? The estate’s policy is selfish and anti-countryside.

    Sometimes it’s hard not to ponder investing in a gun myself.

  24. 31 Simon Tucker
    August 3, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Just spent the day at the BBC Countryfile Live event, working on the stand of a reputable conservation charity. I see that the Countryside Alliance’s antipathy to the BBC doesn’t prevent them from taking a large exhibition stand to “promote the shooting life”. Unfortunately, as I am wearing the apparel of aforesaid charity, I cannot go and wind them up.

  25. 32 Nimby
    August 3, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Mercenary marketing spin or altruism verging on the biblical? He’s going to feed 14m people at a cost of £40,000 so 0.0028 p per portion of toxic lead residue casserole & curry?

    There’s a trend developing here? Remember when it backfired by trying to get Chris Packham the sack with a petition?

    Like many other commentators I’d be happy not to have to hear him on the BBC again, so delighted if he sticks to his threat:) Maybe the poor chap has eaten too many grouse burgers with residual toxicity?

  26. 33 Dr CHK
    August 4, 2017 at 7:23 am

    What I find most worrying is that the reader’s comments beneath that article are almost unanimously on Botham´s side.

  27. 34 coplandsmith
    August 4, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Thank you for the wonderful news that I won’t be able to hear Beefy (or Fatty as he’s known nowadays) on the BBC. He has a similarly overinflated opinion of his own imporatnce.

  28. 35 Greer Hart, senior
    August 4, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Many people I know who are countryside lovers, and who donate time and money to organisations that seek to protect it and save species from extinction caused through bad land practices or just sheer ignorance and neglect. To the trained eye, watching out of bus or train windows; rambling in the Countryside Alliance protected landscape, and constantly monitored by gamekeeper rangers, it is a mostly sad impression that is conveyed to the discerning and critical brain. Such a brain is fully informed as to what is amiss, and it is inappropriate tree plantings; scoured landscapes of native plant and insect life, and where no birds sing. The moorland and mountai areas are managed in many places to suit shooters with bulldozed roads to access shooting points. The imagination is called into play to reforest the bare hillsides with the old forests that once held Wolf, Bear, Lynx and Wild Boar. The woodland open spaces would be resplendent with many species of wild flower, and butterflies abounding. On the West Coast, even Walrus was found. The sturdy tribes people lived in balance within this Highland redoubt hosting great biodiversity. That has all been changed of course, and descendants of the same mob have infested our rural environment as overlord land owners, who eventually dispensed with the clans folk along with the trees. However, some leeway has to be made to allow for ignorance, and a lack of compassion for poor people and wildlife. Today, it is a different story as Science and Ethics have grown into a deep concern for the consequences of such bad land management world wide. Those who are aware and determined to change the image of the shooting industry, and its mesmeric hold it has for a certain political party, the answer is clear, and that is to make sure the public is better informed as to the importance of enforcing law and order in rural areas. By that, I mean the disregard being shown for overall environment and the status of endangered wildlife. No longer can we afford to entrust the narrowly trained gamekeeper with protecting the biodiversity of Scotland, which we are losing very fast. With Fergus Ewing in charge of part of the Department of the Environment, we are guaranteed to have a super Botham figure prancing around at game fairs, praising the rural sports sorts for their contribution to our economy, a measly £200 million compared to what could be earned through a more compassionate range of outdoor activities. How can we expect sympathy for our well-based condemnation of what is going on, when most politicians in power, are deficient in experience and scientific awareness of what is required to save Scotland’s natural environment, marine and terrestrial? Frankly, they are an embarrassment as they seem to convey a herd instinct and vote according to what they are told. I have never encountered the names of Salmond, Sturgeon and Swinney in anything connected with animal welfare and the conservation of species, that would indicate a deep overall/full picture concern. The blood sports junta managed to persuade the Scottish Government to relax the tail-docking ban for two breeds of dogs, based on a bogus animal welfare concern. If they were really concerned about canine welfare, they would desist from using dogs for their rural sport, and even give up killing birds. Botham only expresses the childish paranoid statements one gets when a shooter gets criticised, as if he or she was some kind of persecuted minority. Aye, a well-funded and powerful minority with too many of them in strategic top positions. It is time a force developed to oust and lever them from their unwarranted positions in our society.

  29. 37 I C T
    August 4, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Hello Folks, I was trying to read the comments in the top post re Ewining at Moy, but it won’t open up, yet other posts open & you can read or comment yourself. I don’t think the probable is with me ( but it could be!)I think it’s your site ? Dave

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