Telly Today: farming, designing and enforcing

Today’s telly top picks with ATV Today Editor Doug Lambert for Wednesday September 6th 2017.

BBC Highlights

This Farming Life, 7pm, BBC Two. The debut episode, of twelve, exploring the workings of six Scottish farms over the course of a year in the second series of This Farming Life.

This run of episodes sees the show delve further into the personalities, points of view, and personal narratives of each of the farmers, giving a 360-degree perspective of the people and the processes of farming today. On the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, struggling new entrant farmers Janet and Alastair Taylor prepare to take their lambs to auction. Even getting their lambs to market involves an expensive trip to the mainland; it’s the only day this year that the farm will bring in any money, so the 53 lambs must look their best.

Down in Dumfries and Galloway on Scotland’s south west coast, the Roan family have been dairy farming for over 100 years and the whole family is pulling together to keep afloat. Steven Roan and his family are preparing to enter a cow and a calf into competition at the South West Scotland Dairy Show. Further up the west coast in the stunning scenery of Argyll, hill farmers David and Sandra Colthart keep 550 sheep and 45 cows over land so rough and rugged it takes 3,200 acres of Scottish hill to feed them. David and Sandra must bring the sheep in off the hill to prepare them for the upcoming mating season as well as preparing the cowshed – a job that involves getting the natural fertiliser from under the shed into the fields.

In the Highlands in the far north, crofters Robin and Penny Calvert must get their small fold of free-range and unruly Highland cattle in to a pen for a routine TB test. Rounding up semi-wild cattle with three-foot-wide sharp horns isn’t easy, and even vet Paul is nervous to approach them.


ITV Highlights

Love Your Home and Garden, 8pm, ITV, UTV and STV. Alan Titchmarsh has been tackling some of the country’s toughest backyards for years, helping some extraordinary people achieve their dream of a perfect garden. In that time, he has also encountered families who are in great need and for whom a new garden and home could be truly life changing. In this three part series, Alan challenges architects, builders and gardeners to bring the outside in and transform the living spaces of some very inspirational families.

Tonight, the programme heads to Eltham in south London to meet the Seeserrun family. Manisha and Rajeev have a nine-year-old son Aryan, who has distonic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This life-limiting condition means that he requires full time care. The size of Aryan’s wheelchair and the amount of equipment he requires means that the family is practically imprisoned in their semidetached 1930s house.

While Rajeev is at work, Manisha spends all day on the sofa with Aryan as she cannot fit his wheelchair into the tiny kitchen. Aryan loves being outdoors, but sadly the large sloping garden is completely off limits. Alan and his team get to work, with some breath-taking results.

BBC Two is back in the farming life at 7pm.

Channel 4 Highlights

A Year On The Farm, 9pm, More 4. As BBC Two begin their farming series, More 4 brings its four part run of A Year On The Farm to a close. For the past 400 years, the Hodgson family have farmed sheep on the hills of Cumbria. In that time, little has changed in the way things are done, though the last decade has seen a dramatic decline in the number of hill farmers. In the face of financial uncertainty, the latest Hodgson in line to take over the family business is determined not to be the last.

While the average age of hill farmers is 59, the Hodgsons’ oldest son, Bertie, is just 23. He recently quit university because he desperately missed farm life, and it’s through him that this episode explores the back-breaking challenges a shepherd faces. Lambing season is the most critical time of year, when the whole family pulls together; and, for the first time, Bertie is in charge of breeding the most valuable sheep on the farm. If the business is to survive for another generation, it’s vital he gets things right.

Grand Designs, 9pm, Channel 4. Its the first in a new series of the long running home building show. Few people would be brave or foolish enough to buy a building plot without visiting it first. But that’s exactly what ex-RAF pilot Jon and GP Gill Flewers did. Returning to the UK after a four year stint in New Zealand, this intrepid pair want to build a Kiwi-style hill house on the slopes of the Malvern hills in Worcestershire.

Their ambitious three storey upside-down home will be clad in wood and stone, clinging to the hill and designed to take advantage of and enhance the surrounding scenery. But there are problems. The site is so steep that builders don’t want the job. So, despite a complete lack of experience, Jon quits his job to run the project himself. It proves an emotional rollercoaster ride as host Kevin McCloud discovers through the course of the development. 


Channel 5 Highlights

Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!, 9pm, Channel 5. Another highly charged episode of this docu-series sees the High Court Enforcement Agents face fiery aggression, high emotions and determined debtors. Stewart and Elmor are in Manchester to recover almost £2,400 from a company director for unpaid invoices. The agents face a fierce reception from a family who deny the debtor lives or trades from the address.

Aggressive threats fly as Stewart struggles to contain a situation spiraling out of control. In Kent, Gary and Cona are chasing nearly £4,000 owed by a couple for unpaid rent on a previous tenancy. Gary soon finds himself facing a dilemma when one of the debtors answers the door. The debtors have split up and the young single mother is liable for the whole debt. Can he find a way to resolve an emotionally charged situation?

Stewart’s next case finds him teaming up with Iain to collect £18,000 owed by a Cheshire businessman who borrowed from a friend. The debtor says he cannot pay, and the 4×4 on the driveway won’t cover the large debt. Stewart turns detective and discovers some keys to a mysterious safe. Will the contents provide the leverage to force a resolution? Gary and Cona are in East Sussex, seeking to recover nearly £3,000 owed for vet’s fees after a dogfight in the local park. The elderly debtor is still angry over the whole incident, and refuses to pay the claimant on principle. Has Gary finally met his match or can he find enough evidence in the property to make the debtor change his mind?


Kevin McCloud returns to Channel 4 with more Grand Designs, 9pm.
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