Image: Wikimedia Commons/kTb

Cultivating Comedy: How Clarkson’s Farm 3 Wins Over Non-Farming Fans

When I tell you that before watching Clarkson’s Farm I had no prior knowledge of farming, I really mean it! I knew the odd fact about tractors and farm animals, but the whole farming industry never interested me. However, being a long-time fan of Top Gear, the BBC Two show featuring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s slightly ridiculous globe-trotting endeavours, I was excited to see the release of Clarkson’s Farm in 2021. The series follows Clarkson and his friend and employee Kaleb Cooper in their wacky attempt to start a farm from scratch on a large swathe of neglected land in Chipping Norton amid the changing regulations surrounding Brexit and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

After becoming quite a fan of the show, I visited “Diddly Squat” (the silly name Clarkson gave to his farm) on a family holiday, which was a fascinating experience. Diddly Squat and the eponymous farm shop, where Clarkson sells his produce and merchandise such as tote bags and inappropriately named candles, have become a tourist attraction in the Cotswolds area, and visiting them was a fascinating experience. In a surprising turn of events, while tucking into some of the restaurant’s tasty food, I saw Clarkson himself driving around in his ridiculous Lamborghini Tractor, leaving me feeling quite starstruck after our lovely day out. Our reusable glass bottle titled “Cow Juice” still has a proud home in our cupboard, a fun souvenir of our family trip. 

Clarkson has become a somewhat polarising figure, especially in the British media

In May, Amazon’s Prime Video released Clarkson’s Farm 3, the third instalment of Clarkson’s escapades at Diddly Squat Farm. This may be my favourite series yet! Compared to Prime Video’s Top Gear counterpart, The Grand Tour, where the satire feels a bit, dare I say, past its best, Clarkson’s Farm 3 provides that silly sense of humour and chaos reminiscent of classic BBC Two Top Gear.

Clarkson has become a somewhat polarising figure, especially in the British media. From his stoic political beliefs to controversial tabloid columns, Clarkson’s reputation is not angelic. However, it is hard not to feel a sense of sympathy in Clarkson’s Farm 3.

The third series, beginning in the autumn of 2022 and covering the whole farming year, sees Clarkson face some of the roughest conditions of any farmer. Notably, the summer of 2022 had been the driest in 87 years, leaving Diddly Squat to become merely a ‘parched farmland’ and face shockingly ‘reduced yield’. All the resources needed for farming seem extortionately expensive, especially fertiliser. Clarkson has to get wildly creative to maintain a profit on his farm. That, alongside the local council’s arguably petty demands, including stipulations over whether his farm shop is actually a “farm shop”, proves exciting to watch. With the economic tensions, paired with some classic satire of bickering farmers, the series remains interesting and insightful.

Under the guidance of agricultural assistant Charlie Ireland, Clarkson’s endeavours become even more silly. Starting a competition with the more knowledgeable and experienced Kaleb Cooper, Clarkson vies to profit more on the “unfarmed” territory surrounding his crop fields. The light-hearted and amicable Cooper, taking charge of typical farming endeavours, such as maintaining wheatfields, is challenged to make more profit than Clarkson, who humorously tries to make his unused land into a makeshift farm. Clarkson’s additions to the farm shop include some wild blackberry jam, some disastrous nettle soup and lots of ridiculously swiftly growing mushrooms. 

The farming industry appears incredibly demanding and is certainly about more than just cute animals and gardening!

Clarkson and his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, truly bring a sense of humanity to the series by discussing the process of introducing pigs to Diddly Squat Farm. The complications of rearing pigs become amusing and light-hearted, including installing a rather wonky fence, and quite emotional, with their sows losing many piglets. The introduction of the pigs at Diddly Squat Farm is where the series starts to thrive, moving away from Clarkson’s Lamborghini Tractor capers to something emotionally provoking and deeply human. Overall, from my rather clueless perspective, the farming industry appears incredibly demanding and is certainly about more than just cute animals and gardening!

If you’re like me and have no interest in farming, apart from maybe baby animals, don’t be put off by Clarkson’s Farm 3. Its endearing humour and insightful nature make the show a cheerful and easy watch. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Diddly Squat Farm, especially considering the tumultuous political conditions facing farmers at the moment.

Comments (1)

  • John Brumley

    Just finished the 3rd season it was fantastic
    Hopefully it will continue. Raised in farming community in West Texas I can relate to the hard work and small profits of farming, but the rewards at the end of a hard year are so rewarding. Thanks for the great show. God bless everyone

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