A LAND WORTH LOVING Puts Our Environmental Future In TV Spotlight

August 25, 2002

The UK throws away enough rubbish to fill the Royal Albert Hall every hour. As the ecological impacts that each one of us makes are an increasing worry for thousands, a peaktime BBC/Open University co-production documentary brings to the fore our changing environment and quality of life.

In A Land Worth Loving – the first OU-linked peaktime programme to be shown on BBC ONE – viewers are challenged to consider how the lives they are leading are impacting on the wider environment. The programme will be shown at 7pm on Wednesday, September 4 – as some 60,000 delegates reach the end of discussions about the world’s environmental future at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Three families that have embraced the greener lifestyle allow the cameras into their day-to-day lives. The programme follows the fortunes of Yta and Ian Batchelor in Somerset who, disillusioned with intensive farming, decide they want to work with nature and set up an organic smallholding – in the hope also of providing a future for their two-month-old son.

Further north, Nick and Jill Noble take on the kind of life-change that many of us can only dream about. They give up their urban lifestyle in Leeds to live on Muck, a tiny island with a population of less than 30 off the coast of Scotland. There, they must recycle and learn to be more ‘at one’ with nature.

And the programme features Jack Everett and his family, who together have forsaken the mod cons most of us take for granted to live in an environmentally positive way in a wooden home in a Cotswolds forest.

The programme, presented by DIY SOS host Nick Knowles, also sees the green gauntlet thrown down to residents of a Bristol street. Theirs is a simple task – to make over their homes, their shopping and their waste as they do their bit to be ecologically sound.

When a thermal imaging camera reveals the most energy inefficient home in the street, the experts move in to undertake a makeover with a difference. By installing some of the latest green materials and energy efficient devices, the team shows viewers how they can have a positive impact on the environment and save money.

Elsewhere in the street, two families are challenged to reduce by half the waste they put out for the dustmen. The programme charts their progress as they are forced to reconsider their shopping habits and learn how to recycle.

Meanwhile, the programme’s miniature glass-fronted landfill site at Bristol Zoo – in which four weeks of rubbish is buried – shows visitors and viewers just how little the plastic bottles and cans that are thrown away break down.

The programme’s academic consultant is Dr Joe Smith, a lecturer in geography at the Open University. He said: “We hope to bring our changing environment and quality of life, in all four corners of the UK, to a peaktime BBC ONE audience. We hope the programme will leave people thinking about the environmental legacy that modern lifestyles are leaving for their children and grandchildren, and what households, government and business need to do to put things right.”

Viewers will be encouraged to consider how their daily lives impact on the environment by logging on to the programme’s website at www.open2.net, where they will be able to assess how green their lifestyles are, take part in interactive rubbish composting and energy-efficient home design, and discover more about studying the environment with the Open University.

Viewers will also be able to request a free A2 wallchart with tips on how to recycle their rubbish and cut their energy bills and information on how to get involved with campaigning for a better environment. The wallchart will be available by calling 0870 900 0311 or by visiting www.open2.net

A Land Worth Loving will be shown on BBC ONE at 7pm on Wednesday, September 4. Information about preview tapes and photographs from the series is available from Neil Coaten on the telephone number below.

Neil Coaten

Open University

Media Relations

01908 652580

Audrey Baird


BBC Bristol

0117 974 2322