York & North Yorkshire

Countryfile Live at Castle Howard cancelled over lack of sponsors

Countryfile presenters L to R: Joe Crowley, Charlotte Smith, Steve Brown, Sean Fletcher, John Craven, Anita Rani, Tom Heap, Matt Baker, Helen Skelton, Margherita Taylor, Ellie Harrison, Adam Henson Image copyright BBC Studios
Image caption Tim Etchells, for the organisers, said: "We would love to come back"

The Countryfile Live event due to be held at Castle Howard in the summer has been cancelled due to a lack of sponsorship.

It was held at the stately home near Malton, North Yorkshire, for the first time last year and attracted more than 50,000 visitors.

Organisers said support from major brands and sponsors had "been less than anticipated".

Abbie Olive, of Castle Howard, said: "We were gearing up to stage it again."

The show, due to be held over four days, was described as "representing the best of the British countryside."

Tim Etchells, of organiser SME London, said: "It's a very expensive event to stage and it needs a big brand."

He said it was a combination of the economic climate and "the market out there is very tough at the moment".

"It's not about the visitor numbers, it's simply about the support we need from brands", he said.

Countryfile Live is run by BBC Studios, a commercial subsidiary of the BBC, and SME.

It was due to be held between 6-9 August for the second time in the grounds of the privately-owned house.

At the inaugural event there were long queues of traffic going in and out on the the first day of the show at the 10,000-acre estate.

Any ticket holders for Castle Howard will get a full refund, said Mr Etchells.

A BBC Studios statement confirmed the event had been cancelled due to lower than anticipated sponsorship and exhibitor sales.

"The event relies on funding from exhibitors and sponsors, without which we are unable to finance the high infrastructure costs required to operate the event", it said.

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Image caption Castle Howard designed in 1699 was the setting for the acclaimed 1981 TV series Brideshead Revisited

The first episode of Countryfile, highlighting rural issues, was broadcast on BBC TV in July 1988.

Another Countryfile Live event at Windsor Great Park, west of London, is unaffected and will go ahead between 20-23 August, said organisers.

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