THE COUNTRYSIDE is capturing the imagination of the British television watching public like never before, if the latest viewing figures for the BBC’s flagship rural affairs programme Countryfile are anything to go by that is.
So successful has the show been this year, that the broadcaster today confirmed it is launching a new spin-off series which will air for the first time in the spring.
The BBC already runs Countryfile Seasonal Specials, but from spring 2016 these will be followed by five 45-minute daytime episodes across the following weekdays, called Countryfile Diaries.
The new show will put the focus on the changing of the seasons, and how this affects the landscape, its wildlife and the people who live and work in the countryside.
BBC One’s Countryfile enjoyed its highest ever ratings in 2015 - attracting an average of six million viewers per episode which equates to a 29.7 per cent TV audience share.
Executive producer Bill Lyons said: “The Countryfile family is a big one reaching a huge audience every week.
“It’s wonderful that Countryfile has become the most popular weekly factual series on television, but it’s all down to the enduring love affair between the British people and their countryside.”
Viewing figures have risen since 2014, when Countryfile attracted a consolidated average of 5.7 million - with a 26.4 per cent share.
The highest-rated episode of the series was filmed in Dorset and aired on November 22, with 7.8 million viewers.
Dan McGolpin, controller for BBC Daytime, said: “Countryfile is one of the best loved shows on television and Countryfile Diaries will allow BBC One Daytime viewers to further enjoy the full splendour and sheer variety of life in the British countryside during key moments of the year, starting with spring 2016.”