Imagine my horror when I clicked on the BBC Website to find a picture of Alan Titchmarsh devolved by computer graphics magic into a Neanderthal. This wizardry was to illustrate his “Natural History Of Britain” series, latest in the long line of semi-educational epics designed to be given in bulk DVD form to ungrateful Uncles country-wide at Xmas.

Ageing or otherwise altering faces seems to be a bit of an In Thing at the moment. Only yesterday a BBC ‘news story’ was devoted to a picture of what John Lennon might have looked like at 64. Millions of readers will have been amazed to see that he would look much like he did at 40, just with a few more wrinkles. I wonder if the researchers were tempted to whack on an eyepatch or huge scar. I also wonder that if Dylan had died at 40, his current liver-spotted decrepitude would have been predicted by science. Probably not.

Back to Ur-Titchmarsh. His Neanderthalisation involves a bit more hair, a beard, a bigger nose and, well, that’s it. His teeth are bared in a barely convincing snarl, showing that the man-beast of 2 million BC had rather more even and whiter gnashers than a modern-day gardening presenter. It’s hard to see how this alarming vision helps us understand the natural history of Britain, and also hard to shake the feeling that facial imaging technology is mainly being used by people who are forever looking for ways to get in the papers.