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Last on

Sat 29 Oct 2011 10:30 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 29 October 2011

In his spare time, satirist Roger Law used to breed rabbits, but sadly none of them ever came up to the exacting standards of the British Rabbit Council. Now he's determined to find out the secret of breeding the perfect English rabbit.

A portrait of this bunny underworld is long overdue. Roger will be looking at his favourite, the Old English Spot, one of the country's oldest breeds. A drawing of the perfect English Rabbit was made by Victorian artist Robert Wippell circa 1838. To breed pedigree Old English for exhibition, their spots must accord with Wippell's drawing as closely as possible. The judges mark the spots to a total of 100 points. Unfortunately some judges like small spots, others large ones. Famous breeder of English rabbits, Fred Haslam, commented on the process, "Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible." The perfect English Rabbit is yet to be born.

Roger will be visiting Thirsk in Yorkshire and Sandringham in Norfolk to talk to the best breeders. He'll find out what drives someone to set up hutches for a mind boggling 100 rabbits in their back garden, and how some people live, breathe and dream rabbits. The ultimate dream is the ultimate rabbit: a perfect English Spot.
But is it really possible? Roger burrows into the facts.

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