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The new PM weather forecast...

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Eddie Mair | 17:50 UK time, Friday, 16 October 2009

pmweather.JPG...has caused quite a stir. In the Daily Mail, The Times (here and here), in The Daily Telegraph, and The Independent.

There's more information on the map you can see, at the BBC Weather Centre.

Most of all, we want to hear from YOU. This is an experiment, and it's the views of listeners which will help shape what happens next. Please tell us what you think by clicking on Comments.


  • 1. At 6:38pm on 16 Oct 2009, andcharall wrote:

    FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE please keep the new format weather forecast. I am surprised that the BBC don't seem to have been aware that the previous format was quoted on training courses as a prime example of how NOT to convey information.

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  • 2. At 6:50pm on 16 Oct 2009, 21stCenturyfrog wrote:

    The new format is such an improvement. Please roll it out to all the bulletins! The old style was as good as useless.

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  • 3. At 7:08pm on 16 Oct 2009, pattynan wrote:

    With all the discussion about the weather forecast could I ask that before you give any thought to the subject that you check out Brian Perkins reading the Shipping Forecast. (You Tube)


    Surely this is a lesson in weather presentation and should set the standard; for all the other stuff I can look out of the window.

    I still haven’t got over the late Laurie West

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  • 4. At 7:53pm on 16 Oct 2009, Q_annie wrote:

    Please keep the new format weather forecast.
    I hated the patronising pseudo chatty style of the previous version. I just want to hear about the weather, and not hear advice on whether to take an umbrella, or whether the weather is deemed to be 'good' or 'bad'

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  • 5. At 8:49pm on 16 Oct 2009, rhiwtan wrote:

    Reference the 'new' format weather forecast.

    Overall significantly better than the waffly ones. Much clearer and easy to remember.

    However, why not use the first few seconds to decribe the synoptic situation as in the In-Shore Forecast? - This then enables one to picture the scene which should make remembering the subsequent detail rather easier. Of course, I do remember the time when forecasts were very clearly defined with such terms as 'frequent' 'occasional' and 'scattered'(decribing showers) being ascribed particular meanings.

    It would also be useful from time to time to mention the position of the Jet Stream which has such a controlling influence - the more the general public can be educated to understand the intricacy of the task of forecasting, the better.

    Maybe I am biased, having been a Fellow (amateur) of the R.Met.Soc for nearly 50 years.

    Best wishes,


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  • 6. At 06:29am on 17 Oct 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Has anyone pointed out* that one of the main differences between the customary weather forecast and the shipping forecast is the tone of voice of the presenter? Any chance of getting Your Man who reads the shipping forecast to do the weather for a night?

    *I've got 'weather fatigue' and can't face scrolling through all the comments to check.

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  • 7. At 07:06am on 17 Oct 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    I'm amazed at the horror of some people (and the Daily Wail) at the idea of having to look at a map to find out where they live. (Though the tone of voice used for that letter on PM letters last night was a bit over the top...)

    I realise that gaining knowledge is not looked on as worthy these days but I'd have thought that even the most prideful ignoramus would recognise the worth of knowing where they are.

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  • 8. At 11:02am on 17 Oct 2009, florencefirst wrote:

    re #7 SSC: yes precisely! And you only really need to look at it once to clarify (if you must) your exact region. After that, surely you would remember? It isn't that difficult, is it?

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  • 9. At 11:15am on 17 Oct 2009, i_amGordonJ wrote:

    The new format is much clearer. Please continue and extend to the other weather bulletins. The addition of wind speed and direction in each bulletin - nor merely when high winds are expected - would also be welcome.

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  • 10. At 11:47am on 17 Oct 2009, Decembermum wrote:

    I much prefer the new format weather. Not least because South East England always seems to come first so I only have to listen to the first minute or so! I do mourn the loss of "Central Southern England" though as Hampshire isn't really in the South East.

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  • 11. At 12:04pm on 17 Oct 2009, inglerose wrote:

    The new shipping style weather report is great it is much simpler to understand, at least I am now aware that they are talking about my region. Bird sounds seem a bit silly to say the least. Wonder what the next simple but great idea is going to be.

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  • 12. At 2:44pm on 17 Oct 2009, robetate wrote:

    The new weather forecasts are definitely an improvement on the earlier ones, however can I make a plea for Yorkshire to be included as a region of its own. Some newspapers list just Manchester and Newcastle even though there is 150 miles between.
    P.S. Could the new format be introduced to TV, when it might prevent so much 'showboating' by forecasters?

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  • 13. At 5:46pm on 17 Oct 2009, nikki noodle wrote:

    I would really rather prefer the forecaster to use my ACTUAL postcode when on air, so that I can listen in - I get so easily confused with all this 'northern england' or 'south west scotland' or 'wales'. Why can't they just issued DETAILED forecasts for the place where I live?!

    Noodle, Eric, Esquire.

    I am intending to go on holiday for the next two weeks, so would be grateful if you could forward my 'new' postcode. I am not exactly sure what it is yet, but it is somewhere in the Maldives. Thanks.

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  • 14. At 6:39pm on 17 Oct 2009, cheeseminer wrote:

    a simple idea but long overdue.
    please continue with this.

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  • 15. At 6:50pm on 17 Oct 2009, expertTywydd wrote:

    I like the forecast based on areas because you can listen out for your area and the CONCENTRATE. For me the best is the "shipping forecast" version which I heard Peter Gibbs read out. However, as a retired Met Office man I may be biassed.

    Malcolm Hough

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  • 16. At 11:57am on 18 Oct 2009, g3thyn wrote:

    AT LAST a sensible region by region forecast! Just like the old Home Service in the 1940's! Living in Norfolk I never know if we are Southern England of The North - and sometimes we ARE East Anglia!
    Let's hope it is here to stay on ALL R4 forecasts

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  • 17. At 6:15pm on 18 Oct 2009, cherrytree wrote:

    I know that Sunday isn't your day, but I imagined that the experiment was going to be a continuous fortnight. Tonight's offering by Daniel Corbett was dreadful, almost returning to the bad old days. It's no good Daniel, you lumping the whole of England together. The point was to do the forecast like the shipping forecast. We SWITCH OFF Daniel when we aren't listening to our region. What is the point of the map otherwise? Also the order isn't the same. Please take this seriously, weather people; we want it to work and it neeeds to be a similar pattern every night.

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  • 18. At 8:57pm on 18 Oct 2009, amiinvisible wrote:

    People in Flintshire have obviously been blown away by the new format.Exactly where have they been blown to please as they are not included in any of the areas as listed?

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  • 19. At 9:42pm on 18 Oct 2009, Bartvis wrote:

    Why don't radio weather forecasts give wind speed and direction? As a regular cyclist I want to know this, there are millions of frequent cyclists, and then there are yachtsmen and hillwalkers want to know this, and people with washing lines. And I'm barred from motorways so please stop saying what the weather is in the M4 corridor, it means no more to me than giving the weather for the Grand Union Canal.

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  • 20. At 11:09am on 19 Oct 2009, wexhamtowner wrote:

    New weather format is great improvement - manage to concentrate on the relevant bits-please extend to the Today programme as well

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  • 21. At 11:40am on 19 Oct 2009, Sonnymoon for 3 wrote:

    The problem with the current weather forecasts both on BBC radio and television is that some forecasters seek to superimpose their personalities over the content. This is extremely distracting. There are a few forecasters who play it 'straight' but mostly they want to perform. Why not give those who want to do this their own entertainment show and leave the ones who can deliver an intelligible forecast minus the distraction to do this. The new style forecast is infinitely better than the chatty rubbish to whcih we are currently subjected.

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  • 22. At 12:17pm on 19 Oct 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Imagine: instead of a load of waffle about sporting fixtures and the need to wrap your tree-ferns against frost, the weather forecast is stripped down to include just ... shock! horror! ... WEATHER.

    Whatever next: replacing nonentity-celebrity gossip with news about important events that happen in the world?

    This could be huge.

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  • 23. At 1:49pm on 19 Oct 2009, JBolty wrote:

    New format is very good and works well but is perhaps still missing one element. As a child in the 70's I was an avid listener to the weather forecast and I recall that the radio forecast always ended with the "Outlook". This gave the listener a one or two sentence summary of the conditions to be expected over the next few days. Bring back the outlook!

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  • 24. At 1:55pm on 19 Oct 2009, theotherdaughter wrote:

    Have been on holiday for the last couple of weeks, so I am behind on the debate, but I like the look of the map.

    However, having spent two weeks in Guernsey, I now know what it is really like to be ignored. They do have their own forecast on local radio and as part of the evening TV local news that they do themselves I think, and a coastal waters forecast which is factual and useful to anyone thinking of using the sea - including surfing. It was done in the form of the inshore reports on the Shipping forecast, and done well. I am sure they would appreciate a mention on the full forecast as well though. As with this map, for TV they are classed in South west. The same probably applies to Scilly - although I haven't been lucky enought to be there to find out.

    I know it doesn't figure in the forecast, but am I the only one to think that the map looks a bit odd with France having fallen off?


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  • 25. At 3:14pm on 19 Oct 2009, donati1000 wrote:

    This is so much better than before. No driveling on about the weather earlier today (who cares?) No spits and spots or value judgements i.e sun always good, rain always bad. No "disapointing weather" when it was just as forecast - so no one should have been dissapointed. Just sensible factual forecasting. one point, it might be worth loading the time spent on weather affecting the bulk of the population i.e. Central southern and southeast england rather than equal time on parts of the UK populated mostly by sheep.

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  • 26. At 3:18pm on 19 Oct 2009, leander15 wrote:

    Big improvement. However you have put Southampton in South East Area which is not consistent with the BBC Digital Teletext weather which shows Southampton in the South West.

    Southampton has been included in the unwanted, undemocratic South East Development Area, an unelected quango created under the auspices of John Prescott. All the more reason to include us in the South West!

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