100% on Rotten Tomatoes, 9/10 on IMBd, and a 4/5 from The Independent. What show could this be referring to? Well, the smash-hit of Clarkson’s Farm, of course. Even the Guardian could not help themselves in their reluctant 4/5-star approval, their reviewer saying, ‘his Meghan Markle column might have been unrelentingly horrible, but Jeremy Clarkson is portraying himself as a mildly irascible bumbler again – and he’s disconcertingly good at it’ – high praise indeed. Putting aside the politics, this 8-episode long series is simply beautiful. Thomas Martin looks at the benefits this show has had on Britain’s farming community.
Unlike much of the media consumed in 2023, the content is not warped to fit the current appetite for fake, hyper-edited, fast-paced, and generally mind-numbing action. Instead, Clarkson digs in for a real-life commitment of farming, which is shown to be back-breaking, financially and physically. The show provides the audience with a three-pronged approach: gorgeous shots of the Cotswold 1,000-acre farm, accompanying satisfying music (such as, The Air That I Breathe by The Hollies), and comedy gold from the unscripted cast, such as Kaleb Cooper and Gerald Cooper. All three work within the framework of the show’s premise, which is following Clarkson all-year long as he carries out his farming duties – such as cultivating and breeding cows – alongside attempting to diversify the Diddly Squat portfolio to make up for the loss of government subsidy, by creating a restaurant.
The best review of all, however, is that of the British farming community, and its success, ultimately, is related to its help and raising awareness for this community
The laughable profit sum of £144 the previous year grounds the true difficulty British farmers are facing, which was again highlighted during an interaction between Clarkson and a local dairy farmer, who, without selling the milk in the Diddly Squat farm shop, would go bankrupt, as the Tuberculosis disease had wiped out 60/120 of her cow livestock. Hard truths of the farming world are intertwined with the usual comedy, such as the cows regularly escaping through the fencing, though this comedic effect is somewhat reduced due to the similarity with the sheep escaping in season 1, and the general failures repeating.
The best review of all, however, is that of the British farming community, and its success, ultimately, is related to its help and raising awareness for this community. Too many individuals are too quick to spout their hatred for Clarkson, and any political thought, online, without seeing the real-world impact of this series. In The Telegraph, James Rebanks, a sheep farmer, said that Clarkson ‘did more for farming in one TV series than Countryfile managed in 30 years’. This claim was validated by the National Farmer’s Union, where Clarkson was awarded ‘2021 Farming Champion of the Year,’ and Clarkson and Kaleb Cooper, his number two in the show, were awarded the ‘Flying the Flag for British Agriculture’ award at the British Farming Awards.
he on-screen relationships are also believable, with the Clarkson-Cooper dynamic a good balance of inexperienced blundering and youthful farming expertise to keep the ‘plot’ of farm life moving onwards
The pull of Clarkson’s Farm has to be its unscripted nature, particularly as previous Clarkson shows, such as The Grand Tour episodes, are obviously scripted and pre-planned (to great comedic effect, it must be said). Here, mistakes or successes are both despaired over and triumphed, for real. The on-screen relationships are also believable, with the Clarkson-Cooper dynamic a good balance of inexperienced blundering and youthful farming expertise to keep the ‘plot’ of farm life moving onwards.
Season 2 is a solid, worthwhile watch, for any age, as it is both informative and comedic. However, I would add that there was not as many ‘laugh-out-loud’ moments as in season 1, probably because the novelty effect of many of the unique features of the show – such as Gerald’s incomprehensible West Country accent and Clarkson’s accompanying reaction – has worn off. That said, with season 3 being renewed in October 2022 (regardless of the political-related hysteria over Clarkson himself) it is likely there will be some new farm-based innovations, particularly if the restaurant can finally be opened and served with 100% Diddly Squat produce.
The final episode ended on a high-note, with the lemming barn repurposed into a restaurant in a rapid 2-day construction in order to give as little time as possible for the District Council to object before the restaurant opens and is able to prove it operates effectively. The team sips some Hawkstone Lager, with an accompanying golden sunset in the Cotswold distance sending off Diddly Squat Farm season 2 with thunderous applause… but not before one final scene. Over the last few episodes, the team had tried to get the cow ‘Pepper’ impregnated, firstly, by means of artificial insemination (via the arm of Dillwyn the vet going up Pepper’s behind), and, secondly, through renting the bull, ‘Break-Heart Maestro’. Despite everyone’s best efforts, Pepper was not impregnated, meaning that, to be profitable, she would have to be passed through the restaurant as meat. Clarkson looked like he would fold, aided on by Cooper’s insistence on this course of action, to send her off to the slaughter. But, at the end of season 2, Clarkson dramatically exclaims, ‘fuck it… Lisa?… we’ve got a pet cow,’ with Ramble On by Led Zeppelin closing the curtains on another successful season.
Have some money spare laying around? Want to try your hand at farming? Look no further than the complete, authoritative, and comprehensive guide to high-quality and profitable farming that is Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat, season 2. British farming, I am sure, thanks him.
Featured image courtesy of Tomas Hertogh via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.
In-article video courtesy of The Grand Tour via YouTube.com. No changes were made to this video.
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