The Farm Fixer; BBC television series, now on SBS Television

British television is sprinkled with television programmes that feature rural landscapes. Better still, they have more programmes that feature farming.

The latest BBC farm-featuring documentary to appear in Australia is “The Farm Fixer”; screening on SBS HD, 6pm.  The 8 part ‘reality’ series is set in Northern Ireland, and features Nick Hewer offering diversification advice to struggling farmers.  Nick Hewer apparently has no agricultural experience; his speciality was originally public relations, then he moved into television, becoming well known via The Apprentice.

UK-based rural journalist & Farm Weekly magazine editor Johann Tasker makes the point that many of Nick Hewer’s suggestions to help farmers improve their businesses, are not in any way related to agriculture.  The Farm Fixer promotion information lists suggestions such as “harvesting seaweed, brewing beer, producing flavoured pet water and entertaining cruise ship groups”.  Perhaps the programme could more accurately have been titled “The Small Business Fixer”, not “The Farm Fixer”?

This evenings episode: “Nick visits Tullyveery House in County Down, home to Colin Heron. The estate’s cattle and sheep herds are no longer enough to support the Georgian house and gardens. Colin’s plan is to rent some of the garden for marquee weddings, but Nick wants him to be much more ambitious. Will Nick be able to convince Colin to open up his house and become much more commercial?”

I’ve missed the first few episodes of The Farm Fixer but they can be viewed on the internet for a few weeks after they appeared on television. It certainly looks like an interesting view into the difficulties faced by farmers in Ireland, where costs are high and farms are absolutely tiny by Australian standards.  The Farm Fixer also looks very thought provoking on the business marketing front – perhaps having a farm business assessed by someone with no agricultural experience allows for a more objective and practical view than would otherwise be the case.

As I’m heading off on the Quadrant farm tour to Ireland and the UK in late August, I’ll be watching every episode of The Farm Fixer.