Fast & the farmer-ish? | Farm Tales

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Dull tractor driving tests completed by annoying young farmers do not ‘prime time exciting entertainment’ make, says a disappointed Andrew Livingston.

I was a teenager in an age before Netflix and other streaming platforms, and my evenings were spent consuming whatever the BBC decided to produce and release on BBC Three. I was exactly their target audience, so for me, the channel was great.
I was excited then to hear the channel had relaunched recently (the BBC bigwigs opted to move its content online in 2016). There have been multiple complaints that the channel is predominantly showing old reruns, but I was pleased to see in the TV guide that there was some original content targeted at farmers.
That was, however, until I watched it.

Top Gear meets Countryfile?
The Fast & The Farmerish’ was painful viewing, to say the least. Radio 4’s Farming Today program had described it as ‘Top Gear meets Countryfile’, but I would say it had all the farming content of Countryfile (not much) and the (lack of) humour and excitement of Chris Evans’ short-lived Top Gear era.
The show consists of two teams going head-to-head in tractor driving challenges; it’s essentially Scrapheap Challenge, but with none of the mechanical intellect or entertainment.
I’ll be honest – the first episode was such awful viewing that I have only actually watched 30 minutes of the whole series.
The pain was partly down to the farmers featured on that first episode; the ladies’ team called The Diva Drivers took on three of the most insufferable lads from Somerset, calling themselves The Check Shirt Choppers, with hair cuts that suggest Covid lockdowns sent all their local barbers into permanent closure.

Dullness in a tractor
Frankly, the show was never going to work. As I have mentioned previously (see ‘it’s officially the most dangerous industry’ from The BV Sep 21), farming is the UK’s most dangerous industry to work in. I think the BBC knew that they couldn’t be encouraging young kids to jump London buses in their Dad’s 1980s Massey
Ferguson. So instead the show is a procession of boring tasks like reversing, or driving through water. Simply dull viewing. Looking at the positives, I have a lot of time and respect for the show’s presenter Tom Pemberton. His YouTube channel ‘Tom Pemberton Farm Life’ is well worth a follow if you are actually
looking for decent, informative agricultural content.
I am unsure how much creative control he has on the show, but I hope he had nothing to do with the naming of it at least; without a doubt the worst name for a show I’ve ever heard. I encourage the work of the BBC
and implore them to keep shaking the agricultural tree – there is some decent content ripe for eating.
The world of farming is filled with weird and interesting characters; there’s something about the isolation of agriculture or the abundance of fresh air that breeds a special type of human that the world wants to see.
Be prepared for a lot more, too – Clarkson’s Farm began a TV renaissance for the countryside.
But not everything will be the next Mona Lisa… I think the Fast and the Farmerish proved that.

by Andrew Livingston

Sponsored by: Trethowans – Law as it should be

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