Channel 4’s primetime farming documentary First Time Farmers scored more than 1 million viewers on its first airing.

Despite having to compete with Eastenders, which shared the same 8pm slot over on BBC1, viewing figures for the new show peaked at 1.3 million – more than twice as many as the Channel 4 news.

The first episode followed Herefordshire boys Robbie, Ed and Nick during a six-month period last summer.

Robbie was trying to change his mum’s struggling pig farm into a successful business. Ed returned to the family farm after quitting his city job, while fourth-generation farmer Nick was trying to escape the family business and carve out a career as an auctioneer.

Feedback on the first episode from the farming community has been overwhelmingly positive, with a flood of tweets praising the show.

But the show wasn’t completely without its critics. The “Barker Boys” – two farming cousins from Suffolk – lamented the lack of professionalism portrayed in the show.

@the_barker_boys: “It’s just not really doing what the industry needs! Showing a brutal side of the industry, but not the professional side that it could.”

Next week’s episode follows three young farmers from Cheltenham and Somerset. It will air on Friday 18 January at 8pm on Channel 4.

More on this topic

Watch Farmers ApprenticeFarmers Weekly‘s own 5-part web TV series following 10 young wannabe-farmers at farming bootcamp.

Rachel Jones on G+