Herald on Sunday
Amazon Prime Video
Even Jeremy Clarkson’s biggest fan would have to admit he can be a bit of a plonker. But then, even his harshest critic would have to admit his new farming series is pretty great television.
Clarkson’s Farm chronicles the irascible former Top Gear presenter’s attempts at working the land on his 1000 acres in the Cotswolds, a job that’s been taken care of by “a chap from the village” since Clarkson bought the farm in 2008. But with that chap taking his retirement, and Amazon presumably expecting something in return for the multimillion-dollar contract he signed with them, Jezza has decided to take the reins himself. How hard can it be?
Clarkson approaches the farm with the same braggadocio we grew accustomed to during his time on Top Gear. But unlike test-driving expensive cars on private race tracks, there’s a natural justice to farming that ensures any act of overconfidence is swiftly and satisfyingly punished.
His first act as a farmer is to buy a tractor. After inspecting the machines at the local dealership, he goes ahead and imports a Lamborghini R8 from Germany, a tractor so big it doesn’t fit in his shed. It’s got the wrong hitch on the back and when it breaks down, no one knows how to fix it because the instructions are all in German.
Every few days, Clarkson’s land agent Charlie shows up at the farm with an increasingly overwhelming list of jobs he has to do. Every time he thinks he’s discovered a genius timesaving shortcut, his vastly more experienced 21-year-old contractor Kaleb gives him a bollocking for doing it all wrong. Farming, we soon learn, is a physically and mentally challenging way to make a living. And Clarkson’s Farm, with its mix of Country Calendar and Grand Designs, hammers that point home in
a tremendously watchable way.