Ian Botham masterclass on how not to do a radio interview

You’ve got to listen to this. It’s the funniest nine minutes of car crash radio you’ll have heard for a long time.

It’s Ian Botham, being interviewed on BBC Five Live this morning, talking about how the public spirited game shooting industry is planning to donate thousands of lead-poisoned pheasants and partridges to the poor and needy.

First, here’s a bit of background (from yesterday’s Sunday Times) –

Whether you think donating thousands of lead-contaminated game birds to the poor is a great idea or whether you think it’s simply a PR opportunity to justify the killing of 50 million game birds a year for entertainment, this is fantastic radio.

Here’s the interview (starts at 2:39:12). Only available for 29 days.

UPDATE 27 January 2018: The interview has now been archived on YouTube. Listen to it in full here

30 thoughts on “Ian Botham masterclass on how not to do a radio interview”

  1. ‘What would happen to these birds otherwise?’ ‘Most of them go abroad….to Europe, eerm, they eeerr, errr, they’re very popular in the err, erm’ (changes subject).

    Great ambassador for his hobby. More please.

    Tim Bonner described the interview as ‘dreadful’ on Twitter this morning. I agree, Botham really was dreadful.

    1. Yes, nicely avoiding the question, because he knows the birds will be dumped.

      Instead of “helping” the poor by “donating” this food, why don’t the various estates refuse to take public subsidies, and allow those millions of pounds to find the way to the needy? Surely that would be a better option?

  2. Can I suggest that the journalists don’t bother to apply for a job with Countryfile or Landward. I don’t think that they would fit in.

  3. Ignorant aggressive an arrogant who would guessed ,not like the shooting mob at all. Great to listen to ,they are definitely rattled keep up the pressure and give them more rope . As I’ve said before get them on a platform and debate this, imagine Monbiot, Packham and Avery (what a forward line) against who? Soames, Botham, Linklater Johnstone, Smith, they would destroy them.

  4. Starts off on a low note – “according to information we’ve received there are a lot of people out there who are struggling”, : no shit, Sherlock! -and goes rapidly downhill. Makes me wonder how many times he was hit on the head by a cricket ball?

  5. Wonderful to be provided with such amusement from Beefy again !
    His ilk are the most pressing argument for all agencies & Governments to get in line with public opinion, start to end the driven grouse shooting industry & move forwards.
    [Yes, he was talking pheasant, but the same argument applies.]

    What could they possibly lose from promoting a more diverse upland, wider employment opportunities,the return of iconic species, the end of criminality, water quality, reduced flooding etc .etc. ?

    The incoherent drivel from the driven grouse [ & lunatic fringe driven pheasant / partridge ] lobby is amusing though & they sure know how to keep digging !

    Keep up the pressure !

  6. Let us hope that any food bank handling these donations will make sure that they carry the appropriate warnings about lead contamination, particularly as they may be fed to children and the people receiving them may not be aware of official guidelines on this issue. If we had effective legislation relating to lead in game meat it wouldn’t be a problem but, unfortunately, we don’t.

  7. When you process A Shot game bird into a casserole or a curry does it stay exempt from the lead content legislation or is it then included in the normal food process rules?

    It’s a shame he wasn’t asked what the difference is from a farmed lion being produced to be shot and millions of pheasants being reared released and then driven towards a load of nut cases with guns.

  8. What a horrible human being! So, according to Ian Botham, he and his comfortably well-off pals are planning to alleviate the poverty of 14 MILLION people by “donating” £40,000 of their own money to feeding them surplus pheasants and partridges which they would otherwise be throwing into stink pits to snare foxes. £40,000 represents not much more than the average salary of ONE person in this country! And he has the cheek to harass the interviewer by demanding to know what she is going to do to alleviate the poverty problem. The guy is living in a pure fantasy world, and we can all see without any difficulty that he is simply pulling a cheap publicity stunt on behalf of the shooting community. And fallen flat on his face.

  9. I’m wondering about the logistics of this scheme. Most food bank items are packets/tins or food with a reasonably long shelf-life. The centres won’t be able to cope with chilled/frozen/fresh products. So, are they going to be sending the stuff they’ve not sold to their usual customers that is nearing the ‘use by’ date and will probably be out of date by the time it reaches the ‘end user’? So maybe there would be no need to worry about lead poisoning…. the food poisoning will have ‘got’ you!

  10. The interview was poorly researched. They missed the opportunity to point out that lead shot shatters into micro-fragments on impact spreading lead throughout much of the tissue making it unsuitable for consumption by anyone. This project proposed by Ian Botham would not be doing those ‘people who are struggling’ any favours.
    And then there are the wider issues surrounding this business which could have been pin-pointed by the interviewers – a great opportunity wasted.

  11. I wrote this comment to The Sunday Times article – they did not publish it:

    Dr CHK 2 days ago

    There is nothing generous about this at all, it is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Botham and his cronies to endear themselves to the general public at a time when game shooting and shooting estates are becoming difficult to defend due to their questionable (and often illegal) practices of ‘cleansing’ these large areas of countryside (many within Natural Parks) of any other species (birds of prey in particular) which pose a threat to their quarry.

    Game shooting has now overtaken golf as the main corporate sport and these artificial populations of game birds are being shot in such vast numbers that they have no value. They cannot be sold and even the shooters themselves do not want what they have shot; there have been numerous reports that on the larger shoots there are so many bird carcasses that a JCB is used to dig a hole big enough to bury them. Many others are left to rot in a midden or “stink pit” to attract carrion eaters (considered as vermin by all gamekeepers) which are than trapped or shot.

    These tame, hand-reared birds (Grouse and Pheasant in particular) are fed on grain and grit doused with pesticides and antibiotics even after they have been released into the wild – these chemicals persisit in the flesh of plucked and dressed birds used as food. Added to which the lead shot with which the birds are killed leaches lead into the blood stream and muscle (even after they are dead) and independant analyses on birds offered for sale have shown a lead content up to 100 times the safe level for human consumption; you don’t have to eat the actual shot to suffer from Pb toxicity. M&S were forced to withdraw Grouse from their shelves when these results were revealed.

    Botham is just a loud, ignorant (and wealthy) bully who likes shooting birds but does not like being told that his sport is ethically and in many ways legally wrong. The RSPB, RPUK and many other wildlife conservation bodies will eventually win the day and this sport, driven Grouse shooting in particular, will become outlawed. Until then Botham is determined to get his way by fair means or fowl.

  12. Well………….I suppose that’s one way to get rid of the indigent – poison them! Perhaps applying a vibrating foot massager to the head may stimulate the cognitive function a bit and prevent another outbreak of foot in mouth disease.

  13. ”You enjoy walking in the countryside”.
    ( YES I DO ).
    ”You enjoy seeing the countryside”.
    ( INDEED I DO ).
    ”You enjoy seeing the rivers”.
    ( YES I DO ).
    ”You enjoy seeing everything that goes on”.
    ”If you don’t look after, whether it’s a grouse moor, or if it’s the countryside, if you don’t look after these things,
    they disintegrate”.
    ( REALLY ? ).
    ”They die”.
    ( HONESTLY ? ).
    ”And you wont see anything”.

    Nice to see that knighthoods aren’t strictly for the intelligent. You can be a f*$”+@g ignorant a*^+ hole, and still get one !

  14. Bully Botham at his best/worst. We need more spokesmen, like him, for the killing game they play. He has certainly thrown a wobbly, legover on a sticky wicket. Brains, what brains?

    So they sell one stewed animal for an exorbitant price and give one away, it is just a supermarket ploy to increase profits now adopted to look like charity. Clever game but you can’t fool us, it is just jumping on the bandwagon to profiteer from the the poor food bank users. While trying to put your hideous killing game in a better picture.

    I’m stumped as to what else to say!!!


    1. Something I do which I shouldn’t (for the sake of my sanity) is to check out what the opposition is saying in their blogs. This may well not surprise anyone, but it is particularly noticeable that their views on Botham’s radio flop are in sharp contrast to those expressed here on RPUK. Extremely so, to the extent that I had to listen again to be sure we were discussing the same interview. He has been highly praised for his intellectual ability, a common comment being that he has “wiped the floor” with the RSPB and all the other “extremist” organisations who dare to criticise his unselfish act of charity. All sorts of insults and expletives are used to describe the perceived personality flaws of anyone who perpetrates “lies” about gamekeepers killing raptors, and all sorts of alternative theories are proposed to explain the decline of harriers, from disturbance by “birdy” types, to stress caused by “amateur scientists attaching cumbersome satellite trackers”, to incompetent surveyors and wind farms “promoted by RSPB.” The only potential problems missing from the list so far are aliens from outer space, and gamekeepers of course. We are dealing with an opposition which thrives on lies and deliberate obfuscation, not easy to tackle especially when they appear to outnumber even the scientific consensus.

  15. Sadly..there are many many people who believe every word that comes out of the mouth of a “celebrity”, in this case a cricketting celebrity….not a naturalist, not an ecologist, not even a scientist – but hey in this era of wilful stupidity who wants an expert?..So, yes Botham is a danger to nature conservation – just keep laughing at him though, they hate that…

  16. I’ve only just caught up with Mr. Botham’s ridiculous performance. Sadly the interviewer was not very well prepared, no reference to the lead content of the birds etc. However, in some ways her random approach just added to the tension and confusion which annoyed Bothham even more, wonderful stuff!

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