Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure 1/6, Monday 17 January, 20:30 BBC One
Do you know the feeling when you pick something up for a party just to discover there’s someone out there wearing exactly the same thing? Are they the only ones wearing it better? I’m not speaking from experience – I successfully avoided this opportunity by wearing deeply outdated clothes and avoiding parties whenever possible. But I know the concept.
I mention this simply because it’s impossible to avoid comparing BBC One’s new six-part documentary series to Amazon Prime Video Clarkson’s farm. Both are practically the same in concept, if not in execution. In both, an acclaimed media figure emerges who takes on a new life by starting farming, even though he has no experience or understanding of the job. Both are taught by an experienced, wise local farmer who knows what they are doing. And they both realize that farming is a lot harder than they thought.
Not that it’s bad. It is not. In fact, it’s more good. Kelvin Fletcher, the show’s star, played Andy Sugden jeans in Emmerdale for 20 years before winning Strictly in 2019. He is a charismatic and friendly guy, and his wife, Liz, is a cheerfully cheerful presence. Last year, the couple decided to move to an unused 120-acre farm in the Peak District to start a new life with their two young children, Milo and Maisie.
Kelvin’s plan is to restore the farm to its former splendor. But it is true that he suffers from a lack of experience. “I first went to the countryside when I was in Emmerdale,” he admits. And not many of the intricacies of farming seem to have rubbed off Kelvin during his two decades of soap work. In one scene, he admits he didn’t know there were different breeds of sheep. I consider myself the ultimate urban creature – the countryside is a strange and foreign place for me, with gaping Wi-Fi and few cafes – and even I know there are different breeds of sheep.
This is where Gilly’s neighbor and tenant farmer come into the equation. He plays essentially the same role as Caleb on Clarkson’s farm and is there to teach Kelvin what to do and want to laugh at his misfortunes. First, Kelvin must help him collect the 400 lambs to shear. Although not entrusted with the actual shearing, it was a dubious honor to be able to cut out the dirty chunks of wool that surrounded the back door of the sheep. Predictably, this is not the job you love.
There is still a lot to do before you take over your own livestock. At the top of the barn are holes, clogged drains, broken fences and crumbling walls on the farm. However, two animals are delivered early – one or two rabbits for the children. It soon becomes apparent that Kelvin can’t even take care of them. It will be a tough action.
Kelvin leaves and buys a tractor, as does Clarkson in his series. Gilly makes fun of his size, just like Caleb. Kelvin doesn’t know how to attach farm machinery to a tractor, just like Clarkson does, you know. Then it’s time to deworce the sheep and treat their feet. It’s not going well. Nothing seems to be going well, but while Kelvin is understandably overwhelmed by the procedures, Liz is cheerfully optimistic and carefree. Remember, you don’t have to cut the poop off the wrong end of a lamb.
It may all be very derivative, but good fun, with likable characters and beautiful landscapes, some laughter and no small amount of danger. You may not receive an award for its originality, but it is pleasant and easy to watch on a cold winter night. And you can sleep with the heavens thanks to the fact that you are not a farmer.
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Keeping pace with the aristocrats 1/3, Monday, Jan. 13, 9 p.m., ITV
How do others see the British? I think we’re mostly seen as queuing obsessives, discussing the weather, and the hours. And to tell the truth, they are pretty much right. I’m never happier than standing in a row talking to a prince about the harsh weather. I mean, it never really happened to me, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
ITV’s new three-part series is sure to nurture our passion for the aristocracy. And it’s not hard to see why. They form an extraordinary team – deeply eccentric, often absurd in title, and tend to complain that they don’t have two beans to rub together. Remember, it’s probably true. At current heating prices, a sizeable trust fund is needed to heat a modest bungalow, not to mention a 200-room Yorkshire palace.
The need for money may explain why the four families in the series chose to participate. I have no other reason to imagine inviting a documentary crew to come and find out about your home and follow you to various upscale events. Especially because the possessive gentry is traditionally an infamous group of people afraid of the camera. Unless Hello! Or OK Magazine, in which case they sell them the photography rights for their weddings, honeymoons, baptisms, picnics, and store trips.
In any case, the series follows four different aristocratic households throughout a summer, discussing the vicissitudes of life only armed with private education, vast real estate, and a well-connected system of relationships. But will they cope?
Mountbatten first. Lord Ivar Mountbatten is related to the royal family on the side of both the Prince and Queen of the Philippines. She and her husband, James, live in Bridwell Park, an 18th-century Georgian first-degree listed house in Devon with an ornamental, Gothic chapel and deer park. The way you do it. Ivar was married to Penny for 17 years and had three daughters. Touching that Penny and Ivar are still close friends, Penny welcomed James into the family.
Ivar and James have an annual operating cost of £ 100,000 for their house and land and are always looking for new money-making schemes. They would be like Del Boy and Rodney if the trotters had studied in Gordonstoun and were cousins of Prince Charles. Their latest gasp is the opening of a pop-up restaurant with chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. The Mountbattens, not the trotters. Although I want to see the latter.
Uncle of Princess Olga Romanoff II. Nicholas was a Russian tsar. He lives in the Provinder House in Kent, which literally crashes around him. To make a living, he takes guided tours around his house. Remember, his claims about chronic poverty are somewhat underestimated by the fact that he and his friend Robert like to have an afternoon of drinking Bollinger on the rather extensive, sweeping lawn.
The Sitwells have lived in the huge Renshaw Hall in Derbyshire, the family’s rural headquarters since 1625. In general, if you can call your home a “rural home,” you’re probably pretty upscale. Not to mention if you tend to swim in the morning in the huge fountain in the middle of the ornate garden. Oh, and he has a staff of four gardeners, two housekeepers, and a butler.
Lord Gerald Fitzallan-Howard, brother of the Duke of Norfolk, lives in baronial splendor in Carlton Towers, Yorkshire. With 126 rooms, heating alone costs £ 70,000 a year. Think of the carbon footprint! Like Ivar in Bridwell Park, the property is rented out for weddings, but Gerald and his wife, Emma, are immersed in winemaking.
The cameras follow all four households, and Simon Callow’s rich, harsh voices tell the story of the events as we see them get into various scratches and enjoy a good dose of fairly upscale social life with other, extremely upscale people. The whole thing is quite cheerful, and I have to say, I surprised myself by warming myself a lot towards the contributors. Charming eccentrics according to the greatest British traditions, and as a result, this series is something of a duma. And there is a nice line of property envy. You can’t look around someone else’s house, and these houses (and personalities) are certainly big enough to support a three-part series. Mi ho!
The best… and others:
Sunday, January 16
Dancing on the Ice, 6:30 pm, ITV: Pip and Holly return with Judges Torvill and Dean, Ashley Banjo and Oti Mabuse, to preside over Strictly-on-skates. This year’s riders include Bez, Rachel Stevens and Brendan Cole, who are expected to win the race.
Sue Perkins Big American Road Trip 1. 2, 9 p.m., Channel 4: The enchanting Ms. Perkins travels through Colorado and California in a RV and encounters other nomadic types along the way, which promises to be a charming itinerary.
Monday, January 17
Geordie Hospital 1/6, 9pm, Channel 4: Oh pleasure. Another documentary series showing work in hospitals across the country, this time in Newcastle.
999: What’s the Emergency ?, 9 p.m., Channel 4: My emergency is that I think I’m drowning out the emergency service documentaries.
Tuesday, January 18th
Winterwatch, 8pm, BBC Two: Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan return for another series of winter nature delights from Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk. I thought the point of Norfolk was that it had no hills.
24 Hours at A&E, 9 p.m., Channel 4: Honestly. Now enough.
Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Pedophile, 9pm, ITV: Ranvir Singh examines this lousy story.
Why ships crash at 9pm, BBC Two: Using never-before-seen footage, testimonies from first-time witnesses, and expert analysis, the investigation aims to uncover the inner history of Ever Given, a container ship blocked by the Suez Canal last year that shook the world. supply network.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday:
There is literally nothing new to see. Find yourself a good set of old boxes to look at. Or iron. Depends on you.
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