TV’s marmite presenter is back, and as well as having ditched his mates May and Hammond, he’s also got rid of his bravado. Love him or loathe him, this is annoyingly good telly.
You may have assumed when reading the title that this is going to be another one of those shows where a townie TV personality ups sticks and moves to the middle of nowhere, seeking greener grass and wider skies. But actually, Jeremy Clarkson has been living on a farm in the Cotswolds countryside since 2008, which means for seven years – until that steak dinner “fracas” in 2015 – he was spending his days burning rubber as a petrol head on Top Gear, and his evenings listening to sheep bleat. But until his farm hand retired recently, he didn’t have to do any of the lambing himself. Now, finding himself without someone to run the farm for him, Jezza is asking, how hard can it really be?
Well, pretty hard, obviously. So this isn’t going to deliver you the same tranquil, rural programming found in Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm – partly because we’re in Chipping Norton, where farmers wear expensive £200 Chameau wellies and hire people to do the mucky stuff. And, partly because Clarkson wouldn’t know how to present peaceful telly if he got bashed over the head with a yoga mat and forced to download Headspace. Regardless, this is thoroughly enjoyable TV.
In true Clarkson style, he buys an all singing all dancing Lamborghini tractor which he can’t operate, and local farmers watch on in horror as he cocks up just about every aspect of running a farm. In one episode, he stands there chuckling to himself, watching his 78 sheep and two rams going at it, in another he electrocutes himself. And it’s not all about Clarkson getting knocked down a peg or two, there are other, great characters – most likeable is 21-year-old Kaleb, who frequently comes to Clarkson’s rescue. Even the most devout Jeremy Clarkson hater will be softened by this show which is completely watchable, and surprisingly good fun.
The critics loved it too, the Financial Times’s Suzy Feay even going so far as to give it five stars, calling it an “agricultural gem.” The Time’s Camilla Long loved this too – she says: “What’s winning about this series is — oh God, nearly everything. It’s a sheer treat, from the silly asides to the torrential horror of actual farming to the supporting cast of incredulous farmhands who don’t waste a single second telling him what a useless bell he is.” And in The Telegraph, Anita Singh rejoices, “Clarkson’s gone soft, and it makes for surprisingly good viewing.”
First shown June 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.