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   Inside Out - South West: Monday September 5, 2005


Magpies - beautiful bird or prowling predator?

Inside Out investigates a roadside car dealer, the Magpie man, and the legend of the Elizabethan painter Nicolas Hilliard.


Roadside dealer

In this programme presenter Sam Smith follows trading standards as they battle against illegal roadside car dealers.

Man with car sales form
The battle against illegal roadside dealers

We meet a car trader pretending to be a private seller in order to prevent the public having the basic right as a consumer - the right to take back faulty goods.

Many cars sold by these roadside rogues are unroadworthy, and we watch trading standards as they examine them and expose their hidden dangers.

We also interview people unsuspecting people who have had their fingers burnt by buying these cars.


We take a look back at the life of a man who is said to have played a central role in crafting the image of Elizabeth I.

Starting out life as a London goldsmith, the painter Nicolas Hilliard's pictures became the 'must have' accessory of Elizabethan England, and influenced many of the painters of his time.

Miniature painting
Magnificent miniature - Elizabethan master at work

Born in Exeter, Hilliard was a master miniaturist who used unique techniques to paint all the Elizabethan courtly 'movers and shakers', although his greatest client was Queen Elizabeth I herself.

In fact he created the infamous image that we have of her today.

Today miniaturist painting itself is undergoing something of a renaissance, and we talk to people who have been influenced by his work.

Magpie man

One man has taken extreme measures to in order to solve one of the countryside's most pressing issues - the decline of the British songbird!

Rod Brammer's passion is to protect a private estate on the edge of Exmoor where songbirds thrive.

Man in woods with gun
Magpie man - protecting the song birds of Exmoor

By planting trees and other vegetation he has created a bird sanctuary with a difference - only certain birds get protection.

For 18 years Rod has employed a radical strategy to control one particular predator of his beloved song birds - he shoots Magpies.

But it's an approach that wildlife presenter Chris Packham doesn't agree with.

In the film they debate the pros and cons of Magpie culling.

See also ...

Inside Out: South West
Wind in the willows

On the rest of Inside Out
Hare coursing


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