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Not content with the ongoing crop circle debunk campaign within the pages of ‘Fortean Times’, its editor recently took the mission to Channel 4’s ‘Richard and Judy’ programme on UK television, as MELANIE GAMBRILL reports...

The ‘Richard and Judy’ chat programme shown on Channel 4, Tuesday 15th January, included a short item on crop circles as part of an interview with Paul Sieveking, editor of ‘Fortean Times’ magazine. The year 2001 was identified as scoring highly on the Fortean Times (FT) ‘Weirdness Index’ and so the discussion featured several examples of ‘weirdness’, crop circles being one of them.

The subject was introduced by Richard Madeley, who seemed unable to refrain from laughing at the mere mention of the crop circle phenomenon, thus setting the tone of the interview. First up for discussion was the old story about how the occurrences of formations in 2001 had been affected by Foot and Mouth restrictions. Richard said the appearance of crop circles had “mirrored exactly the rise and fall of Foot and Mouth; aliens had been very respectful of the laws governing movement in the countryside”. As many Swirled News readers are aware, this is quite simply not true - the matter has been featured in several detailed articles on this website [see last summer’s archive headlines]. I was in Wiltshire myself in June, BEFORE Foot and Mouth restrictions were lifted, and saw first-hand several of the formations reported at this time. To give Paul Sieveking some credit, he did actually say “NOT MANY [our capitals] crop circles appeared before restrictions were lifted in mid July”, so he evidently admits there were some, but the implication was clearly that few people dared to enter the fields to make formations until access to land was again permitted.

There then followed a feature on the Milk Hill and Chilbolton formations (which, of course, appeared AFTER the foot and mouth restrictions were lifted!). Unfortunately Paul Sieveking had little more to say about the huge-scale Milk Hill glyph other than that it measured 900’ across [which it didn’t – it was nearer 800’]. Richard reported that he had heard the farmer who owned the field had received a phone call the night before it was discovered asking if the footpaths were open! He then stated “it’s obviously not aliens, is it”, to which Paul replied “in my personal opinion it is not”. A photograph of the formation was shown together with some close-up shots (no credit given to the photographer).

The face at Chilbolton was introduced as resembling ‘the face on Mars’, alongside a photograph (again, no acknowledgement to the photographer), which showed an upside-down view of the face. Considering they had clearly planned to discuss this formation, it seems pretty bad that they could not ensure a suitable photograph of it was available. The ‘Arecibo’ formation received no mention at all!

The interview on crop circles was concluded by Paul Sieveking admitting to the technical brilliance of the formations and describing them as “a vibrant school of British art”…



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