The last year-or-so of pandemic life has seen some interesting changes in the way we act – we’ve started elbowing our mates, drinking pints in the pouring rain, working in our pyjamas, and become obsessed with farming?
We don’t mean we’re donning our wellies and heading out into a poo-filled field, ready for a day of graft – no, we’re leaving that to the professionals. Instead, we’re slipping into our slippers and plonking ourselves on the sofa, and binge-watching Our Yorkshire Farm.
This lot look a bit more hardy than us professional telly watchers – Amanda and Clive Owen are hill shepherds in the middle of North Yorkshire’s dales, where they live and work with their nine children. But these aren’t just any old children, they’re farming children, taught to muck in from when they were just a few years old and help out with the many jobs on the farm. In this much-loved Channel 5 series, we follow the Owen family as they go about their daily life on the farm, regularly battling the elements to successfully raise their free-range kids and 1,000 sheep, whilst running a B&B on the side. And trust us, it makes your average nine to five look like a walk in the park – Dolly should have been singing about this lot instead.
But they never complain, and they almost always have a smile on their faces. This is what makes it such brilliant telly – not only are we given gorgeous views of Yorkshire’s rugged landscape, but these characters are such fun to be around, it almost makes you want to up sticks and escape to the country.
And we’re not alone. Last year, Our Yorkshire Farm broke the record for the most watched show on Channel 5 during the 9pm prime-time slot. In The Times, Matthew Moore spoke to Channel 5’s commissioning editor, who said, “the show had become a television phenomenon because audiences craved heartwarming content.” In The Guardian, Andrew Anthony reckons this has been more important than ever recently, saying “At a time when urban life seems fraught with social anxieties and debilitating restrictions, Yorkshire’s expansive moorlands hold an escapist appeal to both viewers and visitors.” Our Yorkshire Farm “made lockdown look like some bucolic idyll, a dreamlike return to nature at its most wholesome, even if a few lambs died along the way.”
First shown November 2018.