Kelvin Fletcher to Jeremy Clarkson – the celebrities who've become farmers

Farming is a popular choice for many celebrities. (Getty/BBC/Getty)
Farming is a popular choice for many celebrities. (Getty/BBC/Getty)

Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher has swapped his soap farming life for the real thing, with new BBC series Kelvin's Big Farming Adventure showing just how tough the rural lifestyle really is.

The actor, his wife and their two children (they now have twins on the way, too) are tackling becoming owners of a 120-acre farm in the Peak District and the BBC One series follows their adventures in agriculture - which they'd had no experience of before moving in.

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Fletcher, 37, and his wife Liz Marsland have taken on an 18th-century cottage, outbuildings, 20 sheep, three pigs and three alpacas.

He told Radio Times: "Often life is a case of always being on to the next thing, and I guess lockdown was a real pause when you couldn’t help but be present and reflect. I think both of us were ready for a change.

Kelvin Fletcher, wife Liz and kids Marnie and Milo have moved to live on a farm in the Peak District for 'Kelvin's Big Farming Adventure'. (BBC)
Kelvin Fletcher, wife Liz and kids Marnie and Milo have moved to live on a farm in the Peak District for Kelvin's Big Farming Adventure. (BBC)

"Sometimes I do wonder whether we’ve taken on too much. But I can’t imagine us not doing this now. It’s ignited something inside me, and I love it."

Fletcher isn't the only celebrity to have found a rural idyll - he joins a growing list of famous faces giving farming a go.

8 other celebrities who've become farmers

Jeremy Clarkson

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Lisa Hogan and Jeremy Clarkson during the
Jeremy Clarkson and his partner Lisa Hogan live at Diddly Squat Farm. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Clarkson's Farm is the best-known of the many celebrity farming shows, following the former Top Gear host on his new adventures at Diddly Squat Farm.

The petrol head was completely out of his depth in agricultural life, but enlisted the help of young farm worker Kaleb Cooper who, despite having lived just about as different a life to the TV star as you can imagine, stood up to him more than anyone else has dared to.

Read more: Jeremy Clarkson came close to losing leg in farm accident

His Cotswolds farm is now a landmark for tourists, although he's recently been refused planning permission to open a restaurant on site.

JB Gill

JLS singer JB Gill did a U-turn on his popstar career when he decided to move his family to a farm in Kent.

It's led to various rural TV programme appearances, including presenting CBeebies show Down on the Farm from his very own plot.

Gill, who is now back to touring with JLS, told Hello!: "Being in the countryside has been incredibly valuable for all of us and it's a lifestyle we really appreciate. It's something we feel all children should be able to experience."

Alex James

Alex James is helped planting potatoes by children from Kingham and Bledington Primary Schools at his farm near Kingham, Oxfordshire. The potatoes are being grown for the Big Feastival weekend which the former Blur member runs with TV chef Jamie Oliver.   (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Alex James runs a festival from his farm. (PA via Getty Images)

A long-standing celeb-turned-farmer is Blur's Alex James, who swapped the 90s Britpop scene for a much more wholesome life in the Cotswolds.

He's embraced the farming lifestyle by even producing his own award-winning cheese and runs music and food festival The Big Feastival from his land, due to return this summer.

Matt Baker

Matt Baker and the Family (C4)
Matt Baker has moved his family to a farm. (Channel 4)

Another TV star joining the ranks of celebrities showing off their farms is former The One Show presenter Matt Baker, who features in Channel 4's Our Farm in the Dales.

Read more: Matt Baker on his low-key One Show exit

The documentary follows Baker and his young family as he returns to the farming roots of his childhood by setting up his own farm.

Martin Clunes

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18:  Martin Clunes arriving at The National Lottery Awards 2017 at The London Studios on September 18, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by HGL/WireImage)
Martin Clunes lives on a Dorset farm when he isn't on the red carpet. (HGL/WireImage)

The Doc Martin star might spend much of his acting life in Cornwall, but when he's not on screen, he enjoys life at his Dorset farm where he keeps horses, Shetland ponies, cows, sheep and hens.

He told Saga magazine: "I love the space and the way everything is changing all the time with the seasons. It keeps me in touch with real life."

Jason Gardiner

Former Dancing On Ice Mr Nasty Jason Gardiner has had a real turnaround in living since leaving the ITV series after a very public spat with contestant Gemma Collins.

Read more: Jason Gardiner says being on TV was 'toxic'

Like many people the world over, the pandemic prompted him to make some big changes - in Gardiner's case, leaving showbusiness behind for a farm in Portugal.

Zayn Malik

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Zayn Malik attends Tom Ford Women's Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during New York Fashion at Park Avenue Armory on February 8, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
Zayn Malik has a farm in Pennsylvania. (Desiree Navarro/WireImage)

Ex-One Direction star Zayn Malik lives a very different life to his boyband days after being inspired by partner Gigi Hadid's mum Yolanda's farm to buy his own nearby in Pennsylvania.

He told Billboard: "I do a lot of farm work. I take the horses out and feed the cows and that kind of stuff. It’s cool. I’ve always been interested in animals."

Paul McCartney

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16: Sir Paul McCartney attends the UK Premiere of
Paul McCartney has lived the farming life for decades. (WireImage)

Sir Paul McCartney was an early celebrity farm adopter, buying his first one in Kintyre, Scotland, in 1966, and his second in East Sussex in 1973, where he spent the pandemic isolating.

He has said that he believes a tree at the entrance to his farm, bought for him by Beatles bandmate George Harrison shortly before his death in 2001, represents his spirit living on and often talks to Harrison through it.

Kelvin's Big Farming Adventure begins tonight on BBC One at 8.30pm.

Watch: Kelvin Fletcher announces baby news