The ‘return’ of the kissing tradition (says the BBC)

A fairly thorough mistletoe feature on prime time TV this week – 4 minutes of it on The One Show on BBC One on 8th December.  Richie Anderson, the voice of travel news on BBC R2, but more notorious this year as a flamboyant Strictly Come Dancing contestant, spent a day in north Worcestershire visiting the mistletoe-laden apple orchards at Commonwood Farm and the wholesale mistletoe auctions in Tenbury Wells.  The final edit must have been a challenge for the team from Off the Fence media as Richie interviewed virtually everyone he met – whether planned (I was one of those) or unplanned!

The opening theme – the ‘return’ of the kissing tradition after the covid restrictions of the last two winters – was perhaps a little contrived (those auctions did cease for a year but there are plenty of other ways to trade mistletoe!).  But that’s the way the media work – there has to be a (preferably new) news angle.  And overall it was a very balanced piece, mentioning sustainability of the real thing (c.f. plastic), the ancient origins of mistletoe customs in general, the Victorian popularisation of the kissing custom, the parasitic nature of the plant, the need for pruning to keep it and the host in good health, the need for a lot of berries for best effect, wholesale florists being buyers at the auctions etc etc. What more can a mistletoe specialist ask for?

Available, for the rest of this month, on iplayer here, starts at about 9.20 minutes in.

Want your own mistletoe? Grow your own with Mistletoe Grow-Kit from the English Mistletoe Shop.