Star turn on Countryfile for ecologist Rosie Marston.

Friday, September 20th, 2013

“When I first got the call from the ranger at Scotney Castle asking if I wanted to help with filming for Countryfile I immediately accepted and was eager at the prospect of being on tv. Excitement soon turned to apprehension when I heard that another surveyor, who regularly undertakes dormouse surveys on the Scotney estate, had turned down the opportunity. Why had he not wanted to be on tv? Was he worried he would come across badly? Or maybe say something stupid that was going to be broadcast to the nation? These were the fears that were now streaming through my mind and I was a bag of nerves on the day of filming”.

“I had met with the BBC producers for a recce beforehand and they were gushing at the prospect of filming the ‘cute’ dormice, ideally they wanted some footage of them breeding! When I pointed out that it was rather early in the season for that and that we would be lucky to find any dormice at all (I had checked 80 boxes on the estate the previous weekend and had found nothing!) they considered cutting dormice filming and instead focus on setting out 50 Longworth traps in the hope of finding wood mice, yellow-neck mice, bank voles or similar”.

“However, when I turned up on the morning of filming and had a quick scout of the boxes in the area to see if we had any luck….success! A dormouse in torpor! I left it in peace and went to tell the filming crew the good news- it looked like I would be getting some air time after all. By the time we had met up with Julia Bradbury and helped her find the keys which she had managed to lose within the vast realms of her Range Rover, the dormouse was now very much wide awake. (I was relieved they didn’t show the part where it ran circles around my hand in the bag whilst I tried to maintain my cool!). Otherwise, everything went smoothly and my non-ecologist friends were impressed I had managed to talk about the dormouse’s sex life before the watershed!”

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