Reality TV fans may be shocked when ‘Countryfile’ beats their favourite shows in the ratings’ battles, but presenters Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison have told HuffPost UK that the news doesn’t shock them.
Each year, the BBC show’s impressive viewing figures hit headlines and in 2016 it consistently triumphs over ITV’s ‘X Factor’ in the race for the highest Sunday night viewing figures.
Speaking to HuffPost UK at the press launch of ‘Countryfile Live’, Matt explained: “It’s not a surprise to me for people to say, ‘Wow, ‘Countryfile’ is doing well in the viewing figures, what’s the secret to its success?’.
“Well, the fact is, I love this world and I’ve grown up with and dedicated my life to it, why would people not like it too?
“It seems odd for me that people would go ‘why is it popular?’, because it’s great.
Adding that he’s “not at all” shocked when it beats ‘X Factor’, Matt said: “Right when we moved this to its evening slot [in 2009] I knew that it would be a big hit and I so wanted people to just experience the world that I love.”
His co-presenter Ellie added: “It’s really nice that it gets recognised but I guess the joy of it, that we sit on quietly, is that it consistently does great things with the ratings.
“Obviously in the summer the ratings go down a little bit because people are outside in the evenings, but in the winter, they consistently go pretty high. It’s not like we have a really peaky week.
“We secretly delight at it but we’re quite a modest bunch. There’s no wrap party on Countryfile, it never ends - there’s no champagne corks popping.
“It feels great when it gets recognised that we’re beating shows of extraordinary budgets but we just keep on keeping on.”
In 2016, the show’s popularity led to the newly-launched ‘Countryfile Live’ event being equally successful.
This summer, the event will get even bigger and better, with four days worth of talks, attractions and events taking place at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, from the 3 to 6 August.
For further information, and to book tickets, visit www.countryfilelive.com.