In Living Memory

Ep 1/4

Wednesday 23 January



In 1982, agriculture minister Peter Walker launched Lymeswold cheese - the first new British cheese for 200 years, and, for a while, the must-have dairy product for gourmets. Partly intended to deal with milk over-production, it was also meant to show the French that the British could beat them at their own game.

The public went mad for Lymeswold but, within 10 years, sales had dwindled, and the makers, Dairy Crest, pulled the plug. It had been a case of wild over-optimism, flushed with its original success. Dairy Crest had expanded production far beyond what the market could take, and moved from a craft-based process to a mass-produced, machine-made product. It became a byword for inauthentic marketing hype, and a butt of Private Eye jokes.

Jolyon Jenkins speaks to dairy veterans about what went wrong, and finds a small cheese-maker in the Highlands who is still making Lymeswold.

Producer /Jolyon Jenkins for the BBC

BBC Radio 4 Publicity