Matt Baker opens up about big shift in dynamic with parents ‘A key moment in family life’

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Our Farm in the Dales and former The One Show presenter Matt Baker joined Reverend Kate Bottley and Jason Mohammed on Radio Two on Sunday morning. Discussing the latest release of his book ‘A Year on Our Farm’ and season two of the hit Channel 4 TV show, Matt opened up about the shift in the dynamic between him and his parents and how he has re-imagined the farm for their safety in the future.

After introducing Matt to the show, Kate asked: “That formative experience that you had as a young man was that what inspired you to move back with the kids up Northeast?”

He explained: “Well, for those people that have been watching Our Farm in the Dale [they] will understand, my mum had this nasty accident, she smashed her leg preparing for shearing.

“We headed straight back up there – the timing was unbelievable, it was the first lockdown.

“[And] we always knew we’d have to re-version the farm as mum and dad started to get older, and that’s what happened when we went up there.

“We were just doing all this work to change it over and make it more future proof for the family going forward, and we ended up making a whole TV show about it,” he revealed.

“Now we’re in the second series of that, that’s already going out at the moment the third episode of the second series goes out Monday night.

“People have really connected with that family story; when the tables turn, and you start looking after your parents in the same way they looked after you.

“It’s a key moment in family life, yes, we’re doing it to the backdrop of a farm, but that’s a very relatable issue for so many people.

“It’s very real on the farm because we’re a thousand feet up on a hill, and it’s really tough. So how do you allow your parents to keep doing what they love but in a way that’s manageable and that’s what we were faced with.”

Kate went on to say: “It’s the moment you know you’re a grown-up when you start looking after the people that have been looking after you.

“It’s one of those really big moments as you get older where you go ‘this is such a wake-up call’. What have been the other challenges over the last 18months or so on the farm?”

Matt explained: “Well, I suppose because we’ve brought in whole new breeds really, we had lowland breeds of sheep.

“That was one of the tricky things for mum and dad to cope with through the wintertime, we went all across the UK, so getting to grips with those new breeds really.

“We have been showing up the farm as well because again, with the winters that are coming in now and the amount of water we seem to be getting.

“Flooding is a big issue up there, so we’ve been kind of getting flood defences – that’s what we did in the first programme,” he said.

Matt went on to speak about the bond he has formed with his children whilst working on the farm and how it has impacted their childhood.

“It’s fun because there’s three generations on the farm now with myself, my children and mum and dad, and we’re all working together, and that’s the lovely thing about it.

“That’s the thing about the farming community, you don’t realise as you start working as child that your actually in a family business together from a very young age.

“And that’s the wonderful life that you have on a farm, yes it’s tough it might be idyllic for a couple of afternoons in the summertime, but the rest of it is a tough life, I tell you.”

 Our Farm in the Dales airs Monday’s at 9pm on Channel 4. 
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