'Clarkson's Farm season 3 is eye-opening and bloody funny'

Jeremy Clarkson reveals a more tender side in the binge-worthy third season of Amazon's Clarkson's Farm

Clarkson's Farm series 3
Embargoed 00:00 23/4/24
Kaleb Cooper and Jeremy Clarkson return to toil the land in the third season of Clarkson's Farm. (Prime Video)

Over at the beginning of series three of Clarkson’s Farm, a sudden realisation has hit Jeremy Clarkson: “Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” Clarkson sighs, while staring mournfully in the direction of his Prime Video film crew.

No, he hasn’t accidentally hit send on a spoof newspaper column in which he calls for Meghan Markle to be stripped naked and publicly shamed. (I mean, who would ever write something like that, even as a spoof?)

He hasn’t even ordered a pair of loose fit jeans from his favourite gentlemen's outfitters website by mistake. He has simply realised that he has lost a battle with a foe even more terrifying and powerful than the West Oxfordshire District Council Planning Department: Climate change.

The severe lack of rain (2022 was the driest summer for 87 years) has ruined Clarkson’s potatoes, left his sunflower fields looking decidedly droopy and put the dampers on his hopes of planting lucrative arable crops in time for the next year’s harvest.

Read more: Clarkson's Farm star shares cancer diagnosis

On top of that he is having to face up to the harshest of farming realities: Some of his beloved animals, including his favourite lady cow Pepper, are going to have to go on a short one-way trip in the back of a transporter.

Clarkson's Farm series 3
Embargoed 00:00 23/4/24
Jeremy Clarkson's farm has been hit by climate change. (Prime Video)

And as if that wasn’t bad news enough, his old friends at the council have ordered him to close Diddly Squat’s restaurant immediately — and they’re coming for his farm shop next.

It seems the only thing Clarkson has going for him is his bees, which are becoming increasingly profitable. This leads to Clarkson yelling, “S***, we’ve got a lot of honey!” for perhaps the first time since the good old days of Top Gear when he and the boys used to check out the front row of the studio audience from backstage.

Luckily, what’s bad for the farm is great for the TV series. Presumably, all the real life drama meant Clarkson faced no “difficult third series” creative headaches. Consequently, this first batch of four episodes (the second four drop next Friday) are a binge-watcher's dream and will undoubtedly do good business for Amazon.

Read more: Costs spiral on Diddly Squat farm

Little wonder then that the streaming giant has already ordered two more series, which means that as long as Jeremy can keep his nose clean elsewhere, we should be able to enjoy Clarkson’s Farm for a few more years yet. Of course, some people will wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s not like there aren’t enough farming programmes on the telly as it is.

Clarkson’s Farm is not just another farming show though. As well as being genuinely informative and eye-opening, it is bloody funny.

Charlie, Kaleb, Jeremy and Lisa keep the show on the road in Clarkson's Farm. (Prime Video)
Charlie, Kaleb, Jeremy and Lisa keep the show on the road in Clarkson's Farm. (Prime Video)

What makes it special is the cast. It’s full of character types who could have appeared in any legendary British sitcom of the past fifty years from Fawlty Towers to The Vicar Of Dibley, while the comedy timing of the editing is right up there with the likes of The Office.

At the centre of it all, of course, is Clarkson. You’ll be pleased to hear that he is still in full Basil Fawlty mode as this series kicks off. The only surprise is that it’s well into episode two before he loses his rag and yells “I f***ing hate farming!”

No spoilers from me on precisely what drives Clarkson to that declaration, but I can tell you it involves him having to simulate piggy sex with a randy old sow and ends with him asking his partner in grime, Lisa Hogan, “Has one of the pigs been sick in my pocket?”

The pig breeding scene is a ten minute comedy masterpiece, and you have to applaud Clarkson’s generosity in keeping it in the final edit given that it proves beyond any doubt that Lisa is way funnier than he’ll ever be.

However, be warned: the graphic nature of the “porking” will have you saying “Well, you don’t get that on Countryfile” more than once. It was Clarkson’s idea to introduce a pig breeding programme to one of the previously unfarmed areas of Diddly Squat, so he only had himself to blame for the fiasco.

Clarkson's Farm series 3
Embargoed 00:00 23/4/24
Kaleb Cooper and Jeremy Clarkson are competing with each other on Clarkson's Farm S3. (Prime Video)

Why the pigs? Well, Clarkson decided to spice things up this series by challenging his newly-promoted farm manager Kaleb Cooper to a business duel.

The deal is that Kaleb takes full control of the arable side of things while Clarkson attempts to make money from the wild woods and hedgerows. One of Clarkson’s ideas is to make blackberry jam, and it’s a good idea — as long you aren’t put off by a jar that has “Jeremy’s Juice” and his grinning face on the label.

Anyway, whoever makes the most profit by the end of the year is the winner. I’m not sure why Clarkson felt the need to try to engineer some drama like this, but it’s an interesting enough sideshow. It also gives Diddly Squat’s long-suffering farming expert Cheerful Charlie Ireland more airtime, which means we get to see his full range of baffled/exasperated facial expressions.

Eternal teenager Clarkson likes to rebel against stuffy old Charlie, but if his first foray into the world of pig breeding proves anything it’s that maybe Charlie knows what he’s talking about.

He warns Clarkson and Lisa that rearing piglets is not for the fainthearted, and that they’d be much better off simply fattening up older pigs for slaughter. What happens next gives this programme, perhaps for this first time, some real heart.

In fact, it almost achieves the impossible: It makes you think Jeremy Clarkson might be an actual human being with feelings.

And on that bombshell...

The first four episodes of Clarkson's Farm S3 are streaming on Prime Video.