Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has had a productive lockdown, as he learned the tricks of the farming trade for his new show.
Clarkson’s Farm is released on Amazon Prime on 11 June, the show takes an honest look at how Clarkson succeeds (or doesn’t) when he decides to run his own 1,000 acre farm.
He is no stranger to controversy and the show is no different, receiving mixed reviews about his ignorance and lack of appreciation for how hard farmers really work.
The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan described him as “a buffoon screwing things up for our supposed entertainment”, while others seem intrigued by his venture into the great outdoors for purposes other than fast cars.
Clarkson has admitted that his previous take on farming was: “you’d put seeds in the ground and then weather would happen and then food would grow and I’d go on a skiing holiday.”
So, where is the farm and what can you expect from Clarkson’s latest series? This is what you need to know.
What is Clarkson’s Farm about?
The Amazon Prime show is about Clarkson’s attempt to be at one with agriculture, from shearing sheep to harvesting farmland.
Filmed during the Covid pandemic, he decides to run the enormous piece of land he bought eight years ago and learns to become a farmer. He has no previous experience of farm life.
Prior to Clarkson taking over the running of the land he contracted a farmer to do it, the farmer retired last year and Clarkson decided to step up.
Amazon describes the show as “an intense, backbreaking and frequently hilarious year in the life of Britain’s most unlikely farmer and his team, as they contend with the worst farming weather in decades, disobedient animals, unresponsive crops, and an unexpected pandemic.
"Helped only by his gang of agricultural associates, Clarkson quickly discovers that a modern farmer must be a conservationist, scientist, shepherd, shopkeeper, midwife, engineer, accountant and tractor driver, often at the same time."
From getting a kick in the goolies by an unimpressed sheep to driving into the side of a barn while attempting to maneuver a tractor, he fails long before he succeeds.
Viewers will see him draft in a number of local farmers and agricultural experts to assist in running the farm.
The show is not all ‘multi-millionaire buffoon takes on real manual labour job’, as it also highlights the impact of Brexit on farming and the crippling effects of coronavirus on the industry.
Where is Diddly Squat farm?
Clarkson named his 1,000 acres, Diddly Squat farm, in tribute to how much he knows about the subject.
The farm is located between Chipping Norton and Chadlington, in the north of the Cotswolds.
The farm is not organic but does grow wheat, barley and rape. There is also a small flock of sheep and the farm aims to find the balance between sustainable farming while acknowledging the limitations to Clarkson’s experience.
Clarkson told CountryLiving: "We’ve created quite a big wetland area for insects. We’ve got beetle strips running through the fields. We’ve put turtle dove mix in.
"We do quite a bit to attract wildlife and birds and bees. We’ve put owl boxes up. We really have worked very hard but then do I dump a load of glyphosate on the crop? Yea I do."
He is supported to run the farm by Chipping Norton resident, Kaleb Cooper.
In true Jeremy Clarkson style, he also owns a Lamborghini tractor which he described as ‘vast’, with tyres taller than he is. It doesn’t stop it getting stuck down a hill though, as Clarkson found out when he had to call on two other tractors to tow it back to his barn.
What can I buy in the shop?
According to the farm shop’s website, it opened in 2020 and is a small barn “full of good, no-nonsense things you'll like. We do not, for example, sell kale.”
The website claims “We also have incredible food. Literally the best hamburgers in the world. And a full bar including cool draft beers, lagers, ciders and of course rosé. Table seating is available overlooking THE BIG VIEW.”
He previously told how the farm shop ‘welcomes panic buyers’ and sells vegetables ‘drizzled in fungicide’.
All produce sold comes from the farm or other local growers in the Cotswolds area, except from the clothing range.
Diddly Squat Farm Shop is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm and on bank holidays.
How to watch Clarkson’s farm
All eight episodes of Clarkson’s farm are available to Amazon Prime subscribers from 11 June.