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Prince Charles selects dale for TV show special edition

PRINCE Charles will guest edit a special edition of BBC One show Countryfile – and he has chosen Teesdale as one of the programme’s main features.

The rural affairs flagship programme spent three days filming in Teesdale last October, culminating in the Royal’s high profile visit of Middleton-in-Teesdale.

The Prince of Wales will be the guest editor of the show, which will be aired in mid-March as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

During his memorable trip to Teesdale last autumn, Prince Charles embarked on a private visit of Paul and Jennifer Johnson’s farm in upper Teesdale.

He found out about life on the sheep farm, which is 1,500 feet above sea-level and one of the harshest landscapes in the country, and they spoke about the issues facing hill farmers.

The heir to the throne’s visit to the Johnsons is expected to feature heavily on the Countryfile edition, which follows the Prince as he visits his rural initiatives in the UK. Last year he gave £50,000 to Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS), which provides support, advice and training to dale farmers and their families. The money is being used to fund six employees.

The preliminary date set for the airing of the Countryfile show is Sunday, March 10.

Diane Spark, UTASS project manager, said: “It is going to have quite a bit about Teesdale. It’s an hour special about the Prince of Wales’ help and passion for rural areas. They spent three days filming with us. I’m sure most of that will end up on the cutting room floor but we’re excited to see the final programme.”

During his visit to Teesdale, the Prince met farmers at the auction mart and opened the new £100,000 cafe and meeting room at the site. He also visited McFarlane Family Butchers and J Raine and Son, toured the UTASS building and met youngsters who use the drop-in session, as well as children from Forest of Teesdale Primary School.

The Countryfile programme also visits Gloucestershire and a South London school. In interviews with presenters Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker, the Prince discusses the personal importance he attaches to the countryside and explains the reasons behind his choices for this anniversary programme.

Prince Charles has long-standing links to Teesdale and says he is “enormously fond” of the

area. The Royal family has paid a number of visits to Teesdale and the Queen Mother’s ancestors are the Bowes family, who are remembered and revered for building The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.

In his younger days, Prince Charles regularly made private visits to the home of the late Sir Joseph Nickerson at Middleton House to go shooting.

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