BBC Radio 4 fury as DJ compares urban foxes to ‘sound of tortured children’ in bizarre on-air rant

BBC Radio 4 fury as DJ compares urban foxes to ‘sound of tortured children’ in bizarre on-air rant

Carol Vorderman steps away from BBC radio show

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 09/02/2024

- 13:03

BBC Radio 4 DJ Paul Gambaccini has come under fire by his radio show listeners

Several BBC Radio listeners have expressed their irritation with veteran DJ Paul Gambaccini after he expressed his annoyance with London’s urban foxes.

Gambaccini compared the foxes mating call to “children being tortured” and opened up on how he had to split up a fight between two of the animals.

Foxes can be spotted everywhere around London and with over 10,000 of them living in built-up areas, they are bound to cause some disruption for some residents.

Their high-pitched wails are often heard throughout the winter nights by the female foxes as they try to summon a mate.

Despite their irritation to some, the population of urban foxes in London has stayed steady since the 1970s, being controlled by the availability of space, available food, and the impact on the population by humans.

Gambaccini came under fire on Thursday after he expressed his harsh opinions towards the wild animals and revealed how many have urinated on his morning newspaper.

Paul Gambaccini

Paul Gambaccini came under fire for his opinons on urban foxes


Discussing his opinions, he said on his radio show: “I moved into a conservation area in Kennington, London about a year ago. We were greeted quickly, once or twice a week, by [the sound of foxes mating].

“It’s the sound of children being tortured. I’m sorry. It’s really shocking, no matter how times you’ve been woken up by it – it’s still really bad news.

“One night it got so bad that my husband had to run out and break them up. I had to do the same the following night, and chase them away.

“They operate with impunity and they fight sometimes – it’s a very noisy affair.”


Paul Gambaccini admitted foxes often urinate on his property


He recalled how the foxes had “damaged” his property after he woke up to find his copy of the Financial Times had been urinated on.

However, the segment didn’t go over well with Radio 4 listeners, leaving one angered viewer to post on X: “Is April Fool’s Day early this year? Is Paul Gambaccini’s irritation at the sound of nocturnal foxes is quite as newsworthy as you think?”

Another fumed: “Did one of them just bump into Paul Gambaccini in the lift while he was going on about this and think a little feature was a good idea? It isn’t!”

Many were quick to jump to Gambaccini’s defence though, with one avid listener hitting back: “If Paul Gambaccini doesn’t want to listen to wild animals doing what wild animals do, perhaps he shouldn’t have moved to a conservation area.”

Paul Gambaccini

Paul Gambaccini made his opinions clear on foxes


“I adore Paul Gambaccini. There are so many awful people in this world so lay off of Paul just because he doesn't like foxes,” a second echoed.

Trevor Williams, spokesperson for The Fox Project recently discussed the lives of foxes and explained: “Most people are perfectly happy to live with foxes around because they’re not a problem by and large.

“Foxes are not going to bring attention to themselves if they possibly can avoid it.”

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