THE BBC has been accused of being too "squeamish" and "simplistic" in its coverage of rural life, according to a new report.

The independent review said its coverage was "generally impartial" and praised flagship shows, including Countryfile.

But the BBC Trust, which commissioned the report, said some people thought coverage had "a metropolitan bias" and it too often focuses on protests rather than "underlying issues."

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Coverage of the trial badger cull in England was praised, but was criticised for "the predominant use of images of healthy badgers to open or conclude a report".

The BBC said it took its commitment to rural affairs reporting seriously and was always aiming to improve its coverage.