The Asthmatic Rabbit

I love the BBC and I think they do a great job on TV and online with my license fee in all but one area, that of weather forecasting.

Michael Fish, BBC Weather Forecaster

Carol Kirkwood

Carol bleedin' Kirkwood - the poster child for our nation's obsession with the weather. I don't think anything sends me diving for the remote more quickly than hearing her syrupy regional accent gloop through the airwaves bringing with it a mix of sunshine and showers. I used to work with a chap (hello Dudley, yes, I mean you) who dubbed her "The Asthmatic Rabbit" and it wasn't until I listened and heard Ms Kirkwood harshly punctuate sentences in a phlegmy 40-a-day fashion that I began to realise what he meant. Our obsession with the weather really gets on my man boobs and I really think it's about time we dropped the weather forecast from the TV schedule. Dad, however, (hello Dad, yes, I mean you) loves Carol Kirkwood and her expressive hands which brighten-up many a morning for him and countless others I dare say.


So it would seem that for every hater there's a lover of the British forecast and the forecasters that wink their way into our living rooms. I don't really dislike Ms Kirkwood, truth be told, I only make a big thing about her because I know it gets Dad going :-) She is, however, amongst the worst of a bad bunch but she's not yet managed to topple ITV's Sian Lloyd from being the most shiny and smug presenter on TV - it's bad enough that we have to put up with her stroking and beckoning the UK with her pointy fingers but the poor woman suffers from excessive salivation so why do they mic her up so that we can hear it? The weather forecast is hardly factual but it's a pity it now has to be camped-up like a second rate glamour panto; at least in the days of Michael Fish our weather forecasters looked as if they were proper boffins that knew what they were talking about (oh no they didn't...) and were on a par with the likes of Raymond Baxter and Patrick Moore.

The Problem With Our Weather

The problem with our weather is not that we have so much of it, it's that we appear to obsess over it and think it's really important but it's not. Years ago when nobody had cars and we all worked out in the fields or in factories, offices and shops the weather mattered. It mattered because we walked more and relied upon public transport more, knowing what the weather was going to do let you choose the right clothing. We all now jump from the centrally heated house to the climate controlled car to the air conditioned office and the weather really doesn't affect us at all - so why do we have to have 5 minutes of weather forecast after the national news followed by 1 minute of local weather forecast after the regional news? If we're so in love with the forecast format then why don't we try forecasting something that matters like the Euromillions numbers?

The BBC is currently making some big cuts to its budget and BBC Television centre is up for sale - surely we could make some serious savings if we axed all of the weather forecasters? Actually, let's not kid ourselves and call them forecasters, they're not, they're presenters; they're just great at reading autocue and smiling - the actual forecasters are the most powerful computers in the world.

Predicting the weather is so massively complicated that we can only now do it with the help of supercomputers. There are countless variables that stack-up to influence the global weather systems so there has to come a time when we revert back to simple pressure charts, after all, all we want to know is whether to take a brolly out with us. Supercomputers are working to model and predict climate change, however, we don't seem to be able to get the forecast for tomorrow correct so just how much can we rely on these longest-of-range forecasts?

The Great British Weather

We all spend a little too much time indoors and could probably all do with getting out a little more so why should a little weather stop us? Getting caught in the rain is actually a bit of a laugh and don't you love the smell of tarmac on a hot day just after it's rained?

There's nothing wrong with enjoying weather but let's draw the line at obsessing about it and paying weather presenters with breathing and salivation difficulties way too much. Let's also stop giving them their own TV shows too - this week the BBC aired "The Great British Weather", presented by The Asthmatic Rabbit herself, Chris Hollins (don't get me started on that squeaky tit) and Alexander Armstrong. I know Xander lost the Pimms Advert gig a while back and that the Toilet Duck voice over will hardly see him over but he's so much better than doing links on a lousy weather programme. I can only assume that Kate Humble either wasn't available or a BBC risk assessment deemed that having Kirkwood, Hollins & Humble on one TV show would cause too many accidents in the home as middle-aged Meldrewesque men (hello Steve, yes, I mean me) simultaneously drop-kick their HD flats.

Andy avatarAndy30th November 1999
And another thing..... aside from the yoof of today being unable to distinguish between weather or whether, (which really gets my goat - poor caprine) the weather is inundated with such inanity that I want to reach into the screen and punch the non-forecasting-presenter on the nose. Unfortunately that's resulted in not much more than a broken telly and/or hand. Where was I? Oh yeah..... inanity! I once heard a forecaster predict 'there's going to be a lot of weather in the next few days'. What?! A lot of weather? So is that a large volume of a particular weather phenomena (rain?), or are there going to be many types of weather such as snow, smog and rain (which sounds like an EMO tribute band of Earth, Wind and Fire).

More long term accurate weather predictions will surely be 'remember to wear sunfactor 8trillion if going outside until the nuclear holocaust / gamma wave burst from the sun / Vogon overlords death-rays / etc passes'.

Here's some homework. Record the weather for a week. Pick a random recording the next week and play. Contrast it to the current weather predictions and see which one is more accurate.
This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays
Steve Whiting avatarSteve Whiting30th November 1999
Ah, inanitey - my chosen specialist subject when it comes to weather presenting: "spits and spots", "sunshine & showers" and "much more widespread" are but three comfortable, lazy phrases find their way into forecast-speak and exist simply to annoy.

Speaking of laziness, have you noticed that many weather presenters are geo-smug-lazy? Geo-smug-lazy isn't another EMO tribute band but an affliction that, when talking about a weather system moving over a particular area of the UK, causes the presenter to smugly try and show off their knowledge of the UK by centering the front over a small hamlet. The laziness then kicks in as they then refer to that hamlet time and again. Perhaps the best example of this is our Carol Kirkwood (The Asthmatic Rabbit) who seems to like talking about rain moving over the Trossachs. Now I've been to the Trossachs and have a general idea where they are but I also know that no bugger lives there so no-one cares. This leaves us with just one conclusion, that "rain moving in over the Trossachs" and the like are coded message to sleeper cells of meteorologists across the UK.
When I'm done you may view my sauce.
Steve Whiting avatarSteve Whiting5th February 2012
It snowed yesterday, you see I know this because I looked out of a window. We are so fortunate in the UK that if we are unable to look out of the window or look up at the sky or look to the horizon that we can simply look at the telly to find out what the weather is doing. Kirkwood, Lloyd et al have spent the past 7 days telling us that snow was on its way yesterday yet rather than prepare us it appears to have paralysed us.
This past week has been full of people telling me what they can't do next week because of the snow we're going to have. We often hear about the amount of money the economy loses through employee sickies but I wonder how much business has been lost due to Weather Forecasters?
When I'm done you may view my sauce.
Be the next to comment on this blog post.


Come On - Join In!

Create a blog account now and add your comments.