Having grown up on his family’s sheep farm in the Durham hills, Countryfile and former The One Show presenter Matt Baker is heading back to rescue his family farm after his mum had a serious accident. The story will feature in a More4 series, Matt Baker: Our Farm in the Dales, from Big Circus Media (4x60’).
Matt’s parents, Janice and Mike, live on an organic sheep farm that dates back to the 1600s. Matt still plays a very active role in running the farm, but recent circumstances dictated his role was about to get a lot more intense. Last summer, Matt received a call that would lead him to move his wife and two children north to run the farm.
Determined to keep farming, the Bakers knew they had to make some changes. Returning to the farm with his family, Matt was faced with the challenge of keeping the remote farm running and helping his mum overcome injuries from her accident.
During the four episodes, we’ll follow three generations of Bakers round the farmhouse table as they make big decisions for the future of the farm and Matt repairs, reuses and recycles his way through a hefty to do list.
Viewers will also get to know the menagerie of animals that inhabit the farm – from the adorable miniature donkeys who live in a bespoke tiny stable yard and the litter of Cairn Terrier pups who arrive midway through the series. Matt and his family will also be travelling around the UK to re-stock the farm with more suitable sheep to fit in with their plans for the future.
Championing traditional craft and heritage skills along the way, Matt will call on the services of local experts and friends to help the family out – and he even finds the time to save his Dad’s 1946 Dodge car that’s been left in a field for 20 years.
They’ll have their work cut out, but can the Baker family make the changes needed so the farm can enter a new chapter?
Matt Baker: “This is without doubt the most personal TV show I’ve ever made. Filming on the farm where I grew up with my whole family has been a wonderful and unique experience. It’s also my producing and directorial debut with our new production company so it couldn't be more personal. A huge thank you to Sean at More4, it’s amazing what can happen from a conversation in a barn….”
Sean Doyle, Deputy Head of Formats & Features at Channel 4: “We are delighted that Matt and his family will be opening to the doors to their beautiful rural farm on More4. The series is a warm, funny, and often emotional look at what it takes for a close-knit family, ably assisted by an eclectic mix of animals, to pull together in the face of adversity.”
Gareth Collett, Executive Producer for Big Circus Media: “Saving his family farm is going to be a long project for Matt but he’s got some great plans to give the land he grew up on a brilliant future. It’s wonderful that More4 have supported us in being able to share the start of this journey with their audience. On a personal note I’ve loved getting to know the miniature donkeys.”
Matt Baker: Our Farm in the Dales was commissioned by Channel 4’s Deputy Head of Formats & Features Sean Doyle. The 4 x 60’ series is a Big Circus Media production and the Executive Producer is Gareth Collett.
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