Natalie Haynes: More chat with the weather forecast, please

The thing is ...

Share
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

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible