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Eric Simms


Your obituary of the ornithologist Eric Simms (8 June) could have mentioned his cameo role in John Betjeman's highly-regarded Metroland, made by the BBC in 1972 about the north-western suburbs of London adjacent to the Metropolitan Line, writes Alan Bunting.

Simms appeared in his bird-spotting capacity in Neasden's Gladstone Park, where his interest in both blackbirds and feral pigeons – mentioned by your obituarist – became clear.

Simms' spoken words and those of Betjeman in his voice-over were used by the producer in somewhat mocking vein, which suited the tone of the programme but perhaps did less than justice to the man's evidently deep knowledge of ornithological matters.