Jeremy Clarkson says the backlash against Diddly Squat Farm is led by Londoners who name their country homes.

In an interview ahead of the launch of Clarkson's Farm Season 2 he said: "In a way, the village is divided. It’s difficult to say how many people support us in the village and how many don’t.

"Some of it, I’m sure, comes from my past, and driving quickly around corners while shouting, and they didn’t find that appealing.

"As far as the farm is concerned, it’s split pretty neatly between those who have a house number – you know, 22 Oak Avenue or 3 Grove or whatever – who tend to support us, because we bring business to the area and jobs for their kids.

"Some of them are more than happy to go have a nice pint with a lovely view just up the road. So that works.

"If they’ve got a house name, they tend not to like us, because they tend to have moved here from London quite recently, and they don’t want crowds of people coming to the farm shop, so that seems to me to be the split.

"That’s about as tightly as I can put it."

On the meeting he held in Chadlington last year to discuss the impact of the farm shop on the village he said he had failed to win over the locals, who started by saying he was not a real farmer and this was not Love Island.

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Mr Clarkson said: "I can assure you, the people who spoke early on, I have emphatically not won them over. I lost them years ago.

"The ones who spoke first were the ones who really wanted to get it off their chest. But I think the room had plenty of people in there who were alright with me.

"One guy said, “I’ve lived in this village for 50 years. There are jobs for my kids [now]. My house is worth more. I can go up there and have a lovely pint and look at that view.

"It’s the best thing that’s happened to this area for the 50 years since I’ve lived here.

"So, there’s that attitude. They’re very happy. And to be brutally honest, the farm shop is over a mile from the village so it’s of no consequence, really, to the people who actually hate me, and hate the farm shop, and hate the popularity."

He said the effect of the show had been "an extraordinary thing, not just in the UK, but everywhere".

"The farm is visited now by Americans, South Africans, Germans, Finns, Dutch – everyone all over the world. They’ve gone, 'Wow, it’s amazing where our food comes from.'

He said he believed the global farming community was bonded by shared challenges: "There are two fundamental difficulties to farming: weather and government. If you had consistent government thinking and consistent weather, farming would actually be quite easy.

"But the weather isn’t consistent, and the government is – well, it seems to be wilfully annoying most of the time."

He added: "The show came out shortly after the Covid pandemic and around that time a lot of people toyed with the idea of moving from the city to the countryside.

"There have been countryside programmes before, of course, but they tend to be quite twee.

"I really like Kate Humble and people who do that kind of thing, so I don’t want to have a go, but people think of the countryside as a newborn lamb and fresh straw in a lovely, old barn. And I think my programme has shown the reality.

"Some of what we show is very appealing, I think. You watch and think, 'God, I’d love to do that' but sometimes when it’s pouring with rain and everything’s gone wrong, you think, 'Well, I wouldn’t want to do that.'

"The show just came at a time when a lot of people were thinking more about the countryside – not necessarily wanting to become farmers, but to live in it – so it was timely in that regard."

In this series, the farm comes up against the threat of TB for the cattle and it’s not easy watching.

"That was one of the most difficult areas to cover because the badger is much-loved by most people in the country," said Mr Clarkson.

"In fact, the only people who absolutely hate badgers are farmers and people who work in the countryside.

"We thought, 'What do we do?' because if you want to make a popular show you have to say, 'Oh, look at the little cuddly-wuddly badgers.'

"But I thought: no, it’s a farming show, and you’d lose your core audience, the farmers, if you went around, saying, 'Look at these sweet little animals.'

"So, I actually called them bastards and showed people what they actually do. It’s truthful.

"These are not nice animals. Do not be fooled by Brian May. This is what badgers do. This is how much heartache they’re causing to people who’ve worked for generations to build up a farm that’s been wiped out by badgers.

"It was gory, for sure. Finding a dead badger, and showing all that hedgehog blood on its mouth, and all the things it’s eaten and the cows it’s infected. Not pleasant.

"Then there was a cow struggling to give birth and we had to use a winch to get the calf out. You could edit that out and if you were making a Sunday evening programme, you probably would.

"But if you want to know what life is like for farmers, you’ve got to put that in. You’ve got to put the badgers in and say how much damage they do, and you’ve got to show the tricky births."

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Mr Clarkson said he regretted his decision to buy cows but chillies were more successful.

"Yes. My son has now started a chilli business. He’s making sauces out of our chillies here, which sell very well in the shops, so that’s tremendous and it keeps him off the street."

He started the sideline because "well, I was like, 'I like chilli sauce. I like chilli in food and things.' And I thought, 'Well, that can’t be very difficult. We should get some chillies, and then we should grow them.'

"We put some polytunnels up, which is not that difficult, and then bought a variety of chillies. I thought it would be fun to grow Carolina Reapers because it’s very easy to grow them and they’re very prolific.

"But my God, they’re hot. When I first tasted them, they caused me to actually burp while being sick which is something I’ve never experienced before.

"Anyway, we made a sauce out of them. One sauce was lovely and just beautifully spicy, then we did a hotter one which I think, in hindsight, was a bit too hot. We’re going to put it on sale anyway – 'come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough' sort of thing."

Mr Clarkson has already tested the chilli sauce with customers: and had to give out glasses of milk afterwards.

"That was very funny, and I think a lot of people will want to see if they can handle it. But yes, chillies are something that haven’t been a total failure."

Along with the beer.

"I found someone who knows what they’re doing – Rick, who has a brewery about 12 miles away in a place called Bourton-on-the-Water. I sort of got involved in his brewery, and we use our spring barley now. It’s called Hawkstone, because the Hawkstone here is a neolithic monument just on the edge of the farm.

"So, yeah, the beer’s gone well, and the chillies have gone well. The chillies were by accident, but the beer was by finding people who know what they’re doing. We worked on a few recipes.

"We tried different sorts, different alcohol levels and what have you. It’s really good fun, developing your own lager. It seems to be very popular now, which is great. I think we’re selling it to about 100 pubs now. You can get it in a lot of places now in London."

Does he enjoy his own brew after a difficult day toiling in the fields?

"It was so bloody hot this summer so yes, there was something good about it. You do an honest day’s work – you’re absolutely sweaty as hell – and then have a cold glass of Hawkstone’s at the end of it. When it’s your own beer, it really does feel good."

He also made some crisps but had an accident while chopping potatoes.

"I cut half of my thumb off, but it’s all been sewn back on again now. It’s interesting that the only proper injury I’ve sustained in farming – a long-lasting one – was actually from cooking, rather than farming. Which just goes to show: Gordon Ramsay’s job is more dangerous than mine."

And he's got more bees.

"A lot more bees. Because the demand for our honey is huge, and Lisa is now putting it in whiskey: honey-whiskey at this time [winter] of year is very popular. The chilli is popular, and the beer is popular. Those three things have been really good so it’s nice to have some successes."

Kaleb has been another success. People loved him in the first series.

Mr Clarkson said: "He’s got a bit to learn about TV still but, yeah, he’s massively successful, and rightly so. He deserves every bit of it. He’s very hard-working, entrepreneurial, and clever."

And level-headed.

"The thing about Kaleb is that he was born in Chipping Norton and, as we know from the first series, he’s never left it. He’d never been on a train, he’d never been in a taxi, he’d never been on any kind of boat. He’d certainly never been airborne. And he still doesn’t really leave Chipping Norton.

"Everyone’s seen the TV show, but they still just see him doing his business as usual, so his life hasn’t changed. Maybe if he went to Los Angeles and people were coming up to him in the street, then that would be a surprise to him.

"But he isn’t going to Los Angeles or London or Nice. He doesn’t have a passport.

"What tends to affect famous people is when they get recognised when they’re in Sydney or Moscow. They go to African villages and start thinking, 'I’m so famous, I must find someone to make me a cup of coffee.'

"But Kaleb just sits on his tractor - rarely more than a stone’s throw from where he’s always lived."

And the rest of the team are back: Lisa and Gerald and Charlie.

"There’s always a temptation when you have successful shows to analyse what made them successful, and then to expand on that. But Andy Wilman, the producer, has always been very keen to not expand.

"For example, in the first series, Kaleb went to London. Normally, in television, you’d say, 'Let’s send him to New York now' but no. We’ve done that. We’ve seen him as a fish out of water: why do it again? That’s just daft.

"We’re making a farming programme, and we simply carried on making a farming programme. That being said, I did put him in a helicopter. He thought he’d need a passport, bless him.

"He’d never seen the farm from the air, so we borrowed a helicopter, and took him up in it, and he was like, 'Do I need a passport?'. 'No, Kaleb. We’re not going more than a mile, and we’re landing straight back here again'.

"Charlie is also down to earth. Gerald is down to earth. Nobody would ever call Lisa down to earth but if you had seen her yesterday – it was absolutely sluicing it down, and blowing such a gale and my tractor, which is not small, was being buffeted by the winds.

"And the two of us were out, making this fence on the highest part of the bleakest, most wind-set part of the farm.

"That’s what makes it good, I think, because it’s all very real. It’s very real, down-to-earth, normal people."

Mr Clarkson said challenges he faced this year included the lack of EU subsidy following Brexit.

"The government are saying, 'You’re still going to get subsidy' and we’re saying, 'Okay, what do we have to do to get it?', but the government won’t tell us.

"It’s like FIFA saying, 'We’re having new rules in football next year.' 'What new rules?' 'We don’t know what they are, but there are going to be new rules.'

"Well, you can’t prepare for that. How could you possibly prepare for next year’s farming when you don’t know what you’re going to get paid for?

"It’s a complete cock job. I mean, we’re just guessing, really. The government say they’re going to do one thing, then they change their mind, and they just changed it again two weeks ago, and then you get a new minister with different ideas, and it changes again.

"You just say, 'Oh, come on! Make your mind up, and then stick to it.'

In one scene in the new series you meet a farmer, Emma, who says she can’t afford to take a wage. Did that surprise you?

"I was generally aware of this, but there’s so much of it now. There were pig farmers in that meeting, too. They’re in the same boat. Dairy’s in a proper mess because of TB and badgers.

"Pigs are in a real pickle because of lots of things, Brexit being the main one. Generally, it’s a nightmare.

"There aren’t enough employees in the abattoirs, which means that you have pigs that you can’t get into the abattoirs, so the pig just gets bigger and bigger until it’s too big to go to the abattoir. And then they have to kill this perfectly healthy pig that goes to waste.

"Poultry farmers are in a total mess because of bird flu.

"Cereal farmers like myself are in a mess because we don’t know what we’re supposed to be growing, or what fertilisers we’re supposed to be using — and fertiliser is now costing £1,000 a tonne rather than £200 like last year. So, in every area, it’s a nightmare."

He added: "It’s not a disaster for me because I’ve got other ways of earning a living but if you haven’t – and 99.9 per cent of farmers don’t have another income stream – then a lot of them are simply not taking a wage.

"They’re living in their house, burning whatever it is the government says it’s legal to burn that week to stay warm, and they’re working seven days a week with their arm up a cow’s bottom for nothing.

"And they’re absolutely powerless.

"And people will not pay properly for their food. Food is far too cheap. I know you can’t say that, but it’s far too cheap.

"If the government said, 'Right, we’re going to double the price of food', they’d be out of office within five minutes. But that’s what they’ve got to do, really."

So what can viewers do, if they have some sympathy for farmers and want to help?

"I’d try to buy stuff with a red tractor on it, because that means it was grown and produced here to a good standard. You can go and buy Australian beef which, I’m sure, stops you from dying of hunger.

"But you’re not really supporting the British beef industry if you do that.

"I mean, avocados. Everyone should stop buying those – they’re so terrible for the environment. And don’t buy palm oil, which comes from Borneo and is killing orangutans, when you could buy vegetable oil made with oil seed rape.

"And just think: did this come from down the road? In which case, the food miles are less plus the chances are it was grown to a pretty high standard because the standards in this country are very good and you’re supporting British farming people like [dairy farmer] Emma who have no wage at all.

"Emma said that if it weren’t for our farm shop, she would have gone under ages ago because there are so many people buying her milkshakes, which are delicious, and her milk, which is so nice.

"If you taste her milk, and then go to a supermarket and buy their milk, it’s like two completely separate products."


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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