BBC calendar badger photo by Woking man sparks political row
By mattcollison | Thursday, October 11, 2012, 18:06
A WINNING picture of a badger by a Woking photographer has sparked a BBC controversy after it won a calendar competition.
On the Move by Dave Foker won the BBC Countryfile calendar competition and led to a political row.
When amateur lensman Dave Foker, of Knaphill, snapped the solitary creature hobbling along a country lane during a visit to Scotland he couldn't predict the storm it would cause.
His photo, On the Move, was used for the front of BBC Countryfile's 2013 calendar, after viewers voted it among the favourite of 50,000 entries.
But farmers supporting Government plans for a badger cull have been up in arms at the choice, accusing the BBC of hijacking the image to promote anti-cull propaganda.
Farmer Robert Sommerville, 45, tweeted: "How tasteless of the BBC to put a badger on the front of countryfile calendar. Why not re-commission Jim'll fix It and offend more licence payers."
While dairy farmer Will Alexander tweeted: "That badger on country file calendar would look a lot better dead."
The row has bemused Mr Foker, 56,who teaches photography and has been snapping wildlife for 14 years.
He said: "There have been some irate emails. I've had one or two comments. Someone said it was a stuffed badger.
"I took the photograph in March up in Scotland. I was walking with my wife and as an amateur photographer I had the camera with me.
"The light was right, the setting was right and it was 7.30pm so it was the perfect moment.
"I knew it had potential and I entered it in the competition. Out of 50,000 entries it got chosen by the people.
"The issue now is that the BBC has been accused of hijacking it for the campaigners to save badgers.
"As a wildlife photographer I fall on the side of the animals. I can see why the farmers are irate, but as for the BBC hijacking it, I really don't think that is the case."
Speaking on being judged the winning entry, he added: "It's amazing. People who haven't seen me for 30 years have been phoning me. It's definitely got people talking, which is great."
In a statement, a BBC spokesman said: "The Countryfile calendar competition showcases amateur photography of the British countryside, of which wildlife is an obvious part.
"All of the images on the shortlist were selected on photographic merit and the winner was chosen by viewers of the programme."