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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
BBC defends new weather forecasts
One of the new maps

The BBC has defended its new TV weather maps with realistic 3-D landscapes following complaints by viewers.

Of 248 calls received by the BBC after the changes to forecasts came into effect on Monday, just eight were in favour of the new format.

A spokesman said feedback would be monitored, but the corporation believed the broadcasts gave "the extra clarity and detail" that viewers wanted.

"People tend to call the BBC only if they are against a programme," he said.

"It will take a little time for audiences to get used to the new system, but we feel it gives audiences the extra clarity and detail they have told us they want from our forecasts."

Brown complaints

Among the most main causes for complaint was the brown colour used for the land in the virtual reality forecasts.

Anne, from London, wrote in an e-mail to the BBC News website: "It's early days and hopefully some tweaks can be done but there seems to be a lack of colour logic going here.

"Our 'green and pleasant land' has become muddy brown, what we normally associate as sky blue is now rain, which would be better grey, it's all a bit of a mix-up."

Stuart Quick, of Manchester, wrote: "What on earth is the point of doing pseudo 3D maps? If the weather was 3D I'd understand it but I'm not a pilot."

Jamie May, of Ticehurst, East Sussex, said: "I don't think the graphics are up to the BBC's usual high standard. It seems to copy the commercial channels' rather juvenile and too literal presentation."

Admirers of the new graphics wrote in to praise the change.

Viewer praise

Mark Riley, of London, said he "loved" the new design.

"Well done the BBC. It is awesome to soar like an eagle over the 3D graphics," he wrote.

Michael Blakeney, of Stockport, said: "I can actually tell what the weather will be like now rather than guessing by which little cloud drawing I'm closest to!"

The new style of forecasts are the biggest change to the way the weather is presented on the BBC for 20 years.

The corporation says the changes were introduced after audience research found viewers felt the previous graphics were out of date.

Some viewers complained about the way Scotland was depicted on screen during the national forecast.

The BBC spokesman denied any bias and said the bottom of the map appeared larger because it is a 3D forecast and the south is "slightly larger as it is closer to the viewer".

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