The Countryfile crew, which consists of the director, runner, cameraman and soundman, arrived and we all had a quick cuppa while running through the plan for the day.
First we filmed my Dad and my son, Luke, feeding the birds. My daughter Molly took a bit of warming up on screen, so she watched it from behind the camera. The feeders were empty, so the birds were hanging around, wondering why their breakfast
We loaded the camera equipment into the four-wheel drive vehicle and headed down to the fields to do some training with my dog, Annie. On the programme there was only enough time to show a couple of minutes, but we filmed for over an hour. Annie was brilliant. The filming was the first time we had introduced her to proper retrieval work, and she was in her element. I can’t wait to do more with her. We were even joined by a deer that seems quite happy hanging around, watching what was going on.
Mum had been cooking all morning and her dinners are renowned among crews, especially our northern film crew known as ‘the two Steves’. So with full tummies, and having dragged both Steves away from pudding, we all headed down to the brand new lambing polytunnel, after the last one collapsed in heavy snow and blew away later. We let Luke loose with a can of spray paint to number the sheep and, from your feedback, it seems he made quite an impression.
Next, it was time to let the miniature donkeys out for a run around the field. After being in their shed for the morning, waiting for their turn in the spotlight, they were raring to go and ran round the field for ages.
The rest of the sheep needed to be fed in the fields, so we hopped in the 4×4, Luke and Molly’s favourite all-terrain feeding station. It’s the safest place for them, as they don’t get trampled by the flock but they can still help.
After we’d waved goodbye to the Countryfile team, Mum and I headed down to the polytunnel with a video camera and gin and tonics in hand to film a lamb birth, which was edited in later.
I always watch the finished films at home so I can write the voiceover. The kids were over the moon, but my wife, Nicola, thought she looked like she stood around and didn’t do very much, as most of her bits were cut. Just for the record, she’s a cracking farm hand.