Fifteen young farmers from the Cotswolds, Herefordshire and the West Country are set to star in a new Channel 4 reality TV series.
First Time Farmers is a five-part series from the team that created hit reality show Made in Chelsea.
The film crew, who are more used to the upmarket bars and restaurants of west London, decamped to the English countryside for six months to film the young people making their way on the farm.
According to the makers, the series will “lift the lid on the dilemmas, pressures and daily grind of young farmers – how they balance life living on the farm and if there is any room left for love, laughter and partying with mates.”
Alastair Hunter Blair, 25, from Ross-on-Wye, is one of those featured in the show.
The Cirencester graduate has been working on the family’s 200ha arable farm since he left college and his every move was tracked by the TV cameras from May to September last year as he took over running of the farm from his parents.
Filming began just as England’s wettest summer on record got under way, which created more than a few interesting moments for the camera.
“There was horrendous flooding and at one point they were filming me and my dad in a flooded pea field,” said Alastair.
“They asked dad to give me some advice about what to do. But instead of doing what he was told, he looked straight into the camera and said ‘it’s a field full of water – what do you want me to do?'”
“I wanted to show that there’s a whole new generation of farmers who care about everything – their animals and the environment. I want farmers to be the good guys.”
Alistair Hunter Blair
Alastair was approached by the production company in October 2011, when they were pitching “Made in Chelsea, but in the countryside”.
“I wasn’t interested at all,” said Alastair. “It sounded like drivel.”
A few months later they got in contact again, this time pitching an “observational documentary”, and Alastair was in.
“I wanted to champion a new breed of farmer,” he said. “We’re not all grumpy old men – there’s grumpy young men and women too.
“I wanted to show that there’s a whole new generation of farmers who care about everything – their animals and the environment. I want farmers to be the good guys.
“Countryfile has done an amazing job showcasing farming, but it’s pitched to an older audience and more rural people. Hopefully the glossier Made in Chelsea finish of this programme will appeal to a younger audience.”
Alastair also came close to starring in another TV project.
“I thought about applying for the Farmers Apprentice, but it clashed with another commitment. I thought it was fantastic, I loved watching it.”
First Time Farmers starts on Friday 11 January at 8pm on Channel 4.
Watch the five-part Farmers Apprentice series at www.farmersapprentice.co.uk.