Tom Heap talks ‘escaping’ current affairs segments on Countryfile amid ‘grim’ nickname
Countryfile: Tom Heap labels himself ‘resident Grinch’
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Countryfile presenter Tom Heap, 55, has become known on the show for presenting hard-hitting segments. However, the BBC journalist has opened up about how much he’s enjoyed “escaping” these recently.
Countryfile viewers have nicknamed Tom Heap the ‘Grim Heaper’ thanks to him presenting heavier subjects on the weekly show.
Tom opened up about how he feels about this as well as how much he has enjoyed branching out in an exclusive chat with Express.co.uk.
He said: “One of the bizarre collateral benefits of this year of Countryfile for me is I’ve been slightly allowed to escape from the current affairs box.
“So I still love doing the current affairs and I absolutely wouldn’t want to lose it, but the nature of the [Covid] restrictions is that we sometimes need to think more widely and so I’ve been able to do some of the location features as we call them.
“They’ve asked me to do a few of those and that’s been a lot of fun too, being a bit more celebratory about things and opening up to a slightly less sombre side of my personality.”
The presenter also admitted he wants to do more of this on the show going forward.
He added: “It’s been quite fun. This year, I’ve done two and three of those programmes or like three or four probably, and I’ve got another one coming up in a couple of weeks.
“That’s been fun and that’s definitely made me think I’d like to stick with it.”
However, Tom also admitted he didn’t hate his nickname, as he is known for dealing with weighty issues.
He continued: “You will be aware that I have the nickname Grim Heaper.
“When the miserable bit of the program comes on is when I come in. It’s sort of cliche within social media circles.
“I don’t mind too much about that. It is true that the rest of the programme is largely celebratory; it’s not always, but largely and mine, you know, can be a bit more confrontational or downbeat that’s just the way it is.”
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As well as his role on the show, Tom is also hosting a new podcast called 39 Ways To Save The Planet with BBC Radio 4.
The series is all about climate change and looking at it from a more positive angle around what has already been achieved.
Speaking about this he said: “It’s a real passion project. I have been working in climate and Rural Affairs broadcasting for really the last 20 years since 2000.
“I was in journalism before that, but I started specialising in this area.
“Increasingly, in the last few years, I felt that we were covering the undoubted problem, the urgency and importance of climate change pretty well.
“But what we’re not talking about are the solutions out there, the narrative of what is being done and what needs to be done.”
Each episode is accompanied by a video episode looking at some things people are already doing to battle climate change.
So far this has featured people taking governments to court over global warming as well as how underwater seagrass meadows can reduce carbon.
There are currently 13 episodes available to watch on BBC iPlayer and more will be coming in April.
Countryfile airs on BBC One today at 6pm.
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