Kelvin Fletcher: Farming has ignited something inside me

Former Strictly Come Dancing champion Kelvin Fletcher said farming has “ignited” something inside him after starting a new life in the country.

The former Emmerdale actor, 37, and his wife Liz Marsland moved from their Oldham home to a farm in the Peak District with their two young children Marnie and Milo.

The family swapped urban life for a 120-acre farm complete with an 18th-century cottage, outbuildings, 20 sheep, three pigs and three alpacas.

Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure
Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure (BBC)

In an interview with Radio Times, Fletcher said it was a “big step” moving the family, but they were ready to “embrace something new” during lockdown.

He added: “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.

“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 won the 2019 series of Strictly alongside professional partner Oti Mabuse after being a last-minute replacement for an injured Jamie Laing.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Kelvin Fletcher won the 2019 series of Strictly Come Dancing alongside professional partner Oti Mabuse (Guy Levy/BBC)

“If you’d have told me the night I lifted that glitterball that 18 months later I’d happily be shovelling pig poo, I would have struggled to believe you.”

Fletcher, who rose to fame playing Andy Sugden on ITV soap Emmerdale for more than 20 years, admitted his first visit to the countryside was as a teenager when he was cast in the soap.

He said: “I’d never even been close to a sheep before then.

“I always enjoyed the scenes out in nature, but that was in a controlled environment.

“The minute somebody said, ‘Cut,’ there’s a farmer to pick that sheep up.

“I didn’t even know what TB was, I was just saying my lines.

“Now I understand that if you have TB in your cattle, it’s devastating.”

Their countryside move has been captured as part of a new BBC One programme Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure, a six-part series which will air on January 17.