Jeremy Clarkson has a farm E I E I O…
The outspoken presenter takes up farming proving himself an innovator of sorts (but usually in his head only).
Clarkson’s Farm | Official Trailer | The Grand Tour, The Grand Tour
As a kid, my mum and dad once ran a sheep farm, so it was with mild curiosity that I tuned in to the documentary – read docusoap – show that tamed Jeremy Clarkson. So I convinced Darlin Husband to join me for the ride, as we watched Clarkson – the most opinionated presenter on the British telly – trade in London life for managing his Chipping Norton farm.
Clarkson trades in those Top Gear cars for tractors for Clarkson’s Farm (2021-). 1/3 farm documentary, 1/3 part soap, 1/3 part bromance, Clarkson’s Farm tells of one year in the farming life of Jeremy Clarkson – yes, the Jeremy Clarkson – as he takes up farming at his 1000 acre, Diddly Squat farm. The farm is named Diddly Squat as he gets very little in material profits from his farm. What could possibly go wrong?
For a start, this show was made with remarkably bad timing as it was filmed during the year with the worst rainfall ever. This was also the year that heralded the start of a pandemic and lockdowns. And so you would think this would really be car crash – or should that my tractor crash? – telly at its best, which admittedly it is at times. But it’s also one of the more genuine, heartwarming TV shows you will watch this year.
Clarkson had even convinced his blonde statuesque, leggy model girlfriend, Lisa Hogan to join him. Lisa runs the Diddly Squat shop, helps with lambing and is on hand to wipe Clarkson’s fevered brow after his well-deserved bollocking. She isn’t seen on screen in all his escapades. So one can only assume she legged it to a more glamorous life in London, in between camera shots before she was grounded at the farm, by the pandemic.
Clarkson’s main bromance is with the 21 year old, Kaleb Cooper. Cooper is his farm manager and right-hand man. Clarkson would no doubt be 100% lost without him and Kaleb’s ongoing support (ie a man who tries to prevent everything from going tits up) is made in heaven. There is more paternal chemistry between him and Clarkson, but with Clarkson, as the little boy lost who needs fatherly support.
Kaleb is also one of the few people in the universe to put Clarkson right when he’s wrong. As this is his first time as Farmer Clarkson, he is wrong more often than right. The pair obviously bonded, despite some of Clarkson’s (dad) jokes going over his new buddy’s head. And this also despite Clarkson sending him to London with just a Sat Nav for company. This was after, Kaleb confessed to staying on the bus during a school trip to the English capital as a kid and this was his only trip to the big smoke. Ever.
Also on hand, is the affectionately Clarkson-nicknamed, “Cheerful” Charlie Ireland. Ireland advises Clarkson so much that he’s often seen as a figure of dread for Clarkson. As Ireland appears on the horizon, Clarkson knows that he’s got it wrong. Again. Ireland’s calm quiet manner efficiently and masterfully keeps Clarkson within the law. And thus avoiding a sequel, set in the nearest jail. The team also includes seventy plus, Gerald Cooper who Clarkson reveres for his stamina and pluck. But Clarkson will cheerfully admit that he doesn’t understand a word this local says.
As a total novice, Clarkson navigates both arable and livestock farming, machines and the weather to meet deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. And later there are the repercussions from that, not so little pandemic. Clarkson narrates the goings-on in his own unique style, here laced with affable honesty and more often hindsight.
Each episode relates to different farming activities, with Clarkson gamely trying out everything from tractor driving to lambing. As he’s a novice, we learn along with him and these are the highlights of every episode.
Episode one finds Clarkson being Clarkson as he obviously buys the biggest baddest bad boy tractor ever. When Clarkson buys a Lamborgini branded tractor, a tractor so big that he can’t drive into his barn you know either he’s still a boy at heart buying his first testosterone implied vehicle. And he’s the Jeremy Clarkson, we know and love.
This won’t be the first time he ignores the advice from the country folk. He buys it as he attends a farm machinery auction, where he admits that doesn’t have a clue. He was given a list, but tbh I was just confused seeing the equipment the first time I went to a gym. Episode 1 of Clarkson knows best, also has his first brush in with Kaleb who reprimands him for literally taking the shortcut in ploughing his fields, which inevitably returns to haunt Clarkson in a later episode.
Episode 2, has Clarkson buying sheep and a drone. The drone is to act as a sheepdog, in a what the fuck moment… But Clarkson has thought this out, but he has little insight into those woolly animals’ mindsets. Later he’ll experience the 24 hour days of lambing, where things start to change for Clarkson as he trades in his (lovable) arrogance for a more insightful, empathetic, mellow man.
He also decides to start a farm shop, wisely avoiding buying the yellow glass bottles to sell his own spring water in. As it looks like pee (ironically he has to stop selling this water later for a shit-laden reason). Other highlights include his Gwyneth Paltrow inspired ideas for farm shop merchandise. These include bollocks scented candles, made with all the more random crap he hasn’t been able to sell. He also tries beekeeping with more success in dealing with these winged insects than Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man (2007) remake.
So if you want to see the character arc of an often witty, manly, testosterone ridden Top Gear presenter as he turns into a blubbery mess after seeing a sheep give birth, this is the show to watch. Its underdog story has obviously touched those hearts at the streaming service, as a second season is on the way. So tune in for man vs farm part 2.
This just judging from the profits he’ll have made in selling this must-watch fish out of water TV show will be in at least 6 figures. And I am now betting, will have a Wurzels’ soundtrack as we discover Clarkson’s gone and got a – Lamborghini branded combine – harvester.
Weeper Rating: 😦😦 😦/10
Handsqueeze Rating: : 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: / 10
New Rating! Eye Candy Rating: (check out definition HERE): 😍/10 from me (for Clarkson’s blubbery mess at the lambing)
The Odd or Even Blogathon 2022
This post was added to my Odd or Even Blogathon with Taking Up Room. For other documentaries and docusoaps check out my posts on Selling Sunset Season 1 (2019) and Season 2 (2020). There are also documentaries on Lynne Frederick in Lynne: The English Rose (2019) and Valerie Perrine in Valerie, A Portrait of Valerie Perrine (2019).