BBC presenter Kate Humble says she is on a “one woman mission” to bring back the sheepdog show One Man and His Dog.
Countryside campaigners were furious when the programme was recently axed as a standalone show and incorporated into the rural affairs magazine programme Countryfile.
However, Humble revealed at the Cheltenham Literature Festival that she is determined to bring it back wholesale.
"One Man and His Dog... sadly seems to have been axed, although I’m on a one woman mission to bring it back, partly because I want to present it," said Humble. "Having done those programmes [like Lambing Live and One Man and His Dog] gave me again an amazing insight into the extraordinary partnership between human beings and herding dogs."
Humble's remarks may fuel speculation that the BBC’s decision to incorporate the programme into Countryfile is merely a step on the way to axing it altogether.
One Man and His Dog ran from 1976 to 1999 before being given one-off programmes hosted by Countryfile's Matt Baker.
At its peak in the early 1980s, One Man and His Dog regularly attracted audiences in excess of 8 million. But by the time the programme was axed as a series in 1999, figures had fallen to less than 2 million.
However, a BBC spokesperson issued a statement which appeared to reassert the Corporation’s commitment to the show.
It said: “As the BBC’s flagship programme covering rural affairs with a regular audience of more than six million on Sunday nights, BBC1’s Countryfile is the natural new home for One Man and His Dog. Both series already share the same presenter in Matt Baker, for whom sheepdog handling has been a lifelong passion. One Man and his Dog has been a much-loved part of the BBC’s schedule since 1976 and this move reinforces the special place that the programme has in the BBC’s coverage of country life.”