Natalie Haynes: More chat with the weather forecast, please

The thing is ...

Related Topics

The thing is that people talking about nothing is pretty much the most annoying noise in the world. I know that researchers have recently claimed that mewling babies make the most infuriating sound known to man, but that's only because they haven't heard Tim Henman commentating on Wimbledon. Or invested in a soundproofed baby-sized cupboard.

The BBC has had to apologise for its Wimbledon commentary team this week, after receiving more than a hundred complaints about their "over-talking". But when does talking become excessive? It doesn't just depend on the viewer, but also on the commentator. I would cheerfully listen all day to Boris Becker and John McEnroe walk the fine service line between champion's insight and borderline libel. Whatever the BBC pays them, it seems like a bargain to me.

The same is true of weather forecasters, about whom the BBC has also been receiving an unseasonal flurry of complaints. I can take any amount of chattiness from Carol Kirkwood: she has a soothing voice and often wears a jaunty coat, so she can talk about clouds bubbling up as much as she likes. But according to Radio 4's Feedback, people are being driven to fury by weather chat.

Audiences often found the language of weather forecasts impenetrable, citing as an example, "a little ribbon of cloud flirting with the South West". And since ribbon rarely flirts, unless it sees some particularly minxy buttons nearby, who could argue?

People also complained that forecasters were too keen to peg the weather to some mythical social event: barbecues, gardening and picnics. This presumably alienates those of us who don't have a barbecue, a garden, or a penchant for eating scotch eggs near ants. It also alienates those people who did consider a spontaneous devil-may-care outdoor cook-fest, but then caught the forecast and now feel like a tong-wielding cliché.

Most vehemently, listeners objected to being told to take an umbrella out with them when rain was forecast. Which is surely the eye of this storm: people who tune in to weather forecasts want to know whether or not it's going to rain, not how to get dressed if it does. They're listening to Radio 4, for heaven's sake. The Archers has trained them for that.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform