Ex-'Emmerdale' star's transformation from 'proper townie' to real-life farmer

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Kelvin Fletcher and Liz Marland started life as farmers in the Peak District with no experience and two young children in tow.
Kelvin Fletcher and Liz Marsland started life as farmers in the Peak District with no experience and two young children in tow.

Kelvin Fletcher says playing a farmer in Emmerdale helped him realise his 'massive affection' for farming.

The BBC show Kelvin's Big Farming Adventure follows the actor and his wife Liz Marsland as they set up a farm in the Peak District with no farming experience, but admit it took others around them to point out the link.

Speaking on Kate Thornton's White Wine Question Time podcast, Fletcher - who played Andy Sugden in the soap from 1996-2016 - said: "It was really challenging as a young actor on such a prestigious TV show.

Read more: TV industry is 'snobby' about soap actors says Kelvin Fletcher

"So that was a great opportunity. That was very exciting. But I remember doing scenes on tractors or farming or just out with animals and, that was, I think, the only time I'd ever been stood in a field!

WATCH: Kelvin Fletcher and Liz Marsland on their journey to becoming farmers, and what they admire most about each other

"From where I grew up, it was very much not part of that, I was a proper townie. So to suddenly be out in the countryside at seven o'clock in the morning, albeit filming a fictional show, I still got a sense from there, I had a massive affection for that way of life."

He said that though the filming was challenging, with 'many upsetting scenes' — his character went to prison for killing his adoptive mother in a barn fire among many other harrowing storylines — he did relate to him as a 'troubled little character'.

He said though, that the couple had made 'no real direct connection' themselves with his time on the soap and the events that led to them sharing their early steps in farming in the current show.

Listen to the full episode to hear Kelvin talk about being rejected by Strictly before going on to win the whole series and how the farm was actually sold when they first set their hearts on it

White Wine Question Time Banner
White Wine Question Time Banner

Thornton had pointed out that the pair had grown up just streets away from each other, but only got together many years later, and asked if there were other times that they had been waiting for things that were right under their noses.

Fletcher replied that other people had assumed the farm link, because of him playing a farmer for 20 years. But he said: "I knew it was fiction, I knew it was pretend and I was playing a character but I did often used to think to myself, and it sounds daft, but to be at one with nature, to be out there, just taking in the fresh air and working hard.

Emmerdale's Jack Sugden, played by Clive Hornby with his two on-screen sons Robert, played by Karl Davies (R) and Andy, played by Kelvin Fletcher at the Woolpack during the launch of the Dad's and Son's Campaign on the Emmerdale set in Leeds.  * The Sugden family are backing the Department for Education and Skills' campaign to encourage dads to take an active role in their sons' education.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Emmerdale's Jack Sugden, played by Clive Hornby with his two on-screen sons Robert, played by Karl Davies (R) and Andy, played by Kelvin Fletcher at the Woolpack during the launch of the Dads and Sons Campaign on the Emmerdale set. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

"And I guess for me, that was the thing that was always right under our noses, really. It's funny how, all these years later, we've realised it with no real direct connection ourselves. But then when people mentioned it, naturally, there is a little bit of synergy."

Marsland, who went to drama school at the age of 28, leaving the house that she and Fletcher had just moved into together to go and study in London, also said that for her performing and acting had always been under her nose, being married to Fletcher and having lots of friends in the industry.

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

She has since played Liz Steele in BBC series In The Club and says she has 'never looked back'.

She said: "Everything that has happened has always had that performance link.

"Even this farm. When we were trying to buy the farm, a TV show was never even considered, it wasn't even on our agenda.

"Then that just all fell into place with it. And I sometimes wonder if that was my year where everything was just going to slot in and this was the path to be on together, to be a farming thespian!"

WATCH: Kelvin Fletcher on being turned down for Strictly Come Dancing twice, before going on to win the whole series

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting