Sunday 16 Mar 2014
Steve Peacock, former editor of BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme, is joining The Archers production team as Agricultural Advisor to the programme.
Steve, who has previously covered many agricultural issues for Radio 4's rural programming from BBC Birmingham, takes up his new role in April, and will also work closely with rural production teams on programmes including Farming Today, Countryfile and The Food Programme.
As executive in charge of factual radio at BBC Birmingham between 2001 and 2009, Steve produced John Humphrys' On The Ropes for Radio 4, the network's flagship environment programme Costing The Earth with Tom Heap and the Richard Bacon Show for BBC Radio 5 Live.
In addition to his time on Farming Today, where he edited the long-running strand through its transition from niche to a widely respected agenda-setter with record listening figures, Steve also introduced presenters Elinor Goodman (former political editor, Channel 4 News) and Alex James (Blur) to Radio 4's rural programmes On Your Farm and Open Country.
Steve says: "One of the roles of the agricultural advisor is to use farming stories to give the drama a unique perspective. The fact that the programme is so real about the nitty-gritty of farming gives the rest of it a really firm foundation. It may not be the reason people turn on, but it's absolutely key."
He continues: "Farming, food production and a healthy countryside are topics people really care about once they know about them. I'm very excited to be joining the programme; it's a perfect job for me."
Steve takes over the role of Agricultural Advisor on The Archers from Graham Harvey, who has been advising on agricultural storylines for the programme since 1997.
Graham has decided to return to his first role on the programme – that of scriptwriter. He joined Radio 4's long-running radio drama in 1984 and after 26 years, he still gets a buzz from writing for the residents of Ambridge.
Graham says: "I've very much enjoyed helping to keep agriculture at the heart of the programme, a tradition I'm sure my successor Steve will want to continue. I'm delighted to be returning to the scriptwriting team, which is where I started on The Archers. I remain passionately interested in farming and it is certain to figure strongly in my scripts."
Vanessa Whitburn, Editor, The Archers, says: "We're all looking forward to working closely with Steve on future storylines for The Archers. His wealth of experience working on farming and rural programming will be a great asset. Graham has done a fantastic job over the years and I'm excited by the fact that he is returning to writing for the programme."
The Archers broadcasts on Radio 4, Sunday to Friday at 7pm with the omnibus on Sunday at 10am. Catch up on the BBC iPlayer.