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Selective breeding has transformed food production: lambs produce more meat, cows provide more milk, chickens lay more eggs. But Tom Heap wonders if the downside of higher productivity has been poorer animal welfare – tonight he investigates.
That’s the more serious end of an edition that marks the World Cup final by sending Ellie Harrison to witness the tranformaton of Swansea City’s old football ground into allotments. She'll also be talking to the widow of Vernon Watkins, Dylan Thomas's best friend, who was a noted poet in his own right. And wildlife cameraman Richard Taylor-Jones will be on the look-out for fox cubs, creatures he has never managed to catch on camera.
Matt Baker is in Gower, south Wales, where he explores Whiteford Burrows sand dunes, seeing how Welsh mountain ponies have made this environment home and joining the Ministry of Defence as they detonate unexploded Second World War ordnance on the sands. In nearby Swansea, Ellie Harrison visits the site of the old Vetch Field football pitch and tells the story of Vernon Watkins, Dylan Thomas's confidant, who was a talented poet in his own right. Plus, Adam Henson reveals the wonders of wool, wildlife cameraman Richard Taylor-Jones is on the lookout for fox cubs and Tom Heap investigates the pros and cons of selective breeding.
Full Episode Guide
Autumnwatch meets Countryfile as Chris Packham and Ellie Harrison exchange notes
The presenters share their love of nature - and their unusual fan mail
Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison on fanmail: "people always seem to comment on how a woman looks"
Britain’s best walks – from John Craven and his Countryfile co-presenters
“Dear Mr Gove...”: the Countryfile experts offer the Environment Secretary their advice in the build up to Brexit
Who is Anita Rani? Meet the presenter of My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947
Who is new Countryfile presenter Steve Brown? Meet the former Paralympian who is proving the doubters wrong again
Countryfile presenters Matt Baker, Helen Skelton and Adam Henson on why they can't live without their dogs
What time is Countryfile on TV tonight?
Matt Baker reveals his Blue Peter dog Meg lives on in The Archers
Shows like The Archers and Countryfile allow city-dwellers to indulge their bucolic fantasies
50% off tickets to BBC Countryfile Live 2017 and FREE BBC Countryfile magazine
Alan Carr: “TV is a weird twilight zone of talent and ego”