The farming community was unanimous in its praise for the first series of Clarkson’s Farm. Does the second series hold up, asks Andrew Livingston
When he’s not out bashing members of the royal family with the written word, Jeremy Clarkson is able to make funny, engaging, fantastic television.
The eight-episode series of Clarkson’s Farm features all your favourite characters from the hit first series, with the now-celebrity Kaleb Cooper, the farm’s advisor Charlie Ireland and of course Gerald the incomprehensible head of security.
Series two of Clarkson’s Farm spends a little less time on a season-to-season look at farming and instead tackles the big issue that faces all farmers at the moment … diversification.
After Brexit, the UK government announced that our farms would no longer be receiving the EU Basic Payment Scheme, which pays farmers a yearly lump sum based on the land they own.
Instead, farmers will now be paid by the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS). The problem is, the government still hasn’t actually said what this will look like or consist of, and simply keeps bandying the phrase “Public money for public goods.”
Diddly Squat Farm
Clarkson not receiving his Basic Payment is a loss of £82,000 a year to his business. The vast majority of UK farmers won’t lose quite that amount of money – it is increased by the number of hectares of land you own.
However, just like Clarkson, for most farmers that money is the difference between breaking even or running at a loss.
In an attempt to increase his profits, Diddly Squat Farm goes to war with the West Oxfordshire District Council to gain planning permission for a restaurant in order to sell the meat from the farm’s new Shorthorn cattle.
I implore everyone to watch the show – simply to save me describing each funny moment from the series.
I do, however, believe that some of the intrinsic character of the first season wasn’t quite there. Interestingly, the gripes I have with Clarkson’s Farm I also have with his other Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour. I’m not sure if it comes with his increasing age, but his shows are becoming more and more blatantly scripted.
I’m not an idiot (most of the time). I know the show is scripted. Unusually for a rural-themed TV show, season one was universally popular with the farming community – mostly because Clarkson’s chaotic actions in season one were believable because it felt off the cuff – it resonated, as it showed what being a farmer is really like.
Jeremy should count himself a lucky man. No matter what your view of the Royals, or where you sit on the everlasting Meghan and Harry debate, what he said in the Sun newspaper wasn’t good.
His career was in tatters.
Who Wants to be a Millionaire didn’t want him and Amazon was looking the same. They did announce that they are to part ways after 2024 – but after the success of the second series of Clarkson’s Farm, don’t be surprised if they renege on that in the future.
Almost 4.3 million people have watched the 62-year-old prat around on his farm, making it the streaming service’s biggest ever original production.
Jeremy might not ever be the greatest farmer – his own show is video evidence to prove it. But you can never deny the passion that he has for the industry. Farming is an under-appreciated world that seems just that little bit more significant with him in it.
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