Farmer Kaleb Cooper star Q&A

Liz Nicholls

Clarkson’s Farm

Liz Nicholls chats to Clarkson’s Farm star & dad Kaleb Cooper, 25, whose book Britain According To Kaleb is out now and whose UK theatre tour starts in January

Q. Nice to see you, Kaleb, where are you now? “Well, as you can see I’m currently in a field. I’ve just jumped off the tractor to speak with you because we’re muckspreading just over there, then you don’t have to heart the tractor buzzing away! I do apologise if you can hear a load of beeping. It’s a busy time of year; we’re doing about 114 hours a week – it’s pretty busy, and doing the other jobs that get missed out during the harvest time.”

Q. How do you keep your energy up? “I think I run on adrenaline. I love doing what I do so it’s never hard to stay out all night or all day, not having a lunch break. I have a dream and I’m going to get to that dream eventually. It’s pushing me to that place. In the back of my head I always say to myself: dreams don’t work unless you do. My dream is to own my own farm. I’d love to get to the point where I can wake up in the morning with my little kids and walk out on to my own farm and say: in that field over there, I’m going to plant wheat in it because I want to, not because anyone else told me to… And that’s the dream!”

Q. Would you like your kids to go into farming? “I’ve got a little boy and a little girl now and I would love them to take it ever but I would never push anyone to do anything they wouldn’t want to do. If they decide they don’t want to do farming but try their luck as a hot-shot lawyer in London, then great… I just hope they know that I’ll never, ever visit!”

Q. You love where you live don’t you? “I love it. Chipping Norton for me is the most amazing place in the world and I’ve always said that. I just hope everyone wakes up in the morning like I do & feels ‘I’m home’. This is my home, this is where I’m going to spend the rest of my life, I hope. If a farm comes up & it’s not too expensive and I can stay close to home, I’ll be happy.”

Q. You’re going to be on the road soon, though are you nervous? “It’s been work hard, play hard all summer, and I’ve just sat down and thought **** me, I’m going on tour soon, I can’t wait for this. It starts on the 25th January and we’re going everywhere. I am a little bit nervous about it, though, yes, but I hope everyone will be really welcoming and if I get a nosebleed on stage just know it’s normal and it will go away. I don’t like crowds and I think everyone knows I don’t like being touched so I think everyone respects that. It’s a miracle I’ve got two kids!”

Q. What hairdo are you going to go for? “I think I’ve got to bring the perm back don’t you? I miss the curly. This year has been so stressful for me – look at my forehead [lifts fringe] – it’s just growing! I hope it will all be ok.”

Q. How’s Gerald? “Yeah Gerald’s really good – he’s got the mullet still! I would never ever get one, because I’ve got the king of mullets standing by my side. I can’t compete!”

Q. One of the things that endeared you to the nation was how blunt you have always been to Jeremy Clarkson and how you were unfussed by ‘celebrity’. Do you and Jeremy get on in real life? “Yeah. I’ve taught him a little bit of farming; it could me more but he doesn’t listen to me. He’s got a little knowledge and that’s dangerous! But I always say this for him: he’s taught me about the world of television and he’s the most amazing man for that because that man is a TV star, he knows what he’s doing in that world. We do quite a bit together – we go to the pub. If we’ve had an argument the day before we might not see each other for two days. We argue – I don’t think that’s ever going to change! But at the end of the day, I’m right and he’s wrong every time so…”

Q. Apart from the hair, have you changed? “People say I’m a celebrity now, well I’m not! I’m out here in the middle of a field, I don’t believe in celebrity format and I’m no different! People freeze up when they see someone famous but when I see a celebrity I just tell them the truth, which is how I was with Jeremy. I’m a chatty guy, I chat to everyone. I still drive my old beaten-up truck and people are lovely & chatty with me. Nothing’s changed!”

Q. You said you didn’t own any books, and that you hadn’t really read one, so how have you now written two?! “I don’t read books, own books… but I have got a book shelf now and it’s building up slowly – I’ve got The World According to Kaleb on it and now I’ve even got [new book] Britain According to Kaleb, and one of Jeremy’s too! I was a bit nervous about writing a book but I’ve got a recorder I keep in the tractor and as I’m going along doing my jobs, I record what I’ve got to say which is a win-win situation. Then, on a rainy day I can write it all up. There’s been a bit more googling for this book, Britain According To Kaleb, so I apologise if my tractor lines are a bit wonky next spring! I was finding out about different places across the country. Scotland, for example, is a phenomenal place. I thought, ooh, I can go on tour and see all these places and see what farming’s all about around Britain, not just here.”

“Dreams don’t work unless you do”

Kaleb Cooper

Q. Any local traditions you love? “Before I got too busy I used to go to the duck racing… Even though my duck lost I was still smiling at the end of the day and happy for the person who won. And that to me is how you sum up these events – it’s the community coming together and being really happy to all be there together. I’m a bit scared to try the wife-carrying – not because carrying my missus will be hard, but more because I know that if we lose, I’m going to get a b******ing when I get home! My other half is very competitive, you see. I can carry hay bales all day long but when you’re carrying someone precious to you it’s quite scary.”

Q. Can you tell us about your love of cider? “Yes, I don’t drink beer so I drink cider. I don’t yet own a farm but I know where loads and loads of apples are which go to waste every year so I thought why don’t I just pick them up and make my own cider? That’s what I do and I’m very grateful that Henry Weston takes the apples in and I can go with 50kg or 3kg in a bag and they still take it and we make some incredible cider. It’s a very dangerous drink!”

Q. You recently launched an agricultural bursary through the Royal Agricultural University which is great. What would you do to help young farmers? “Thank you, I’m trying to use my influence with young farmers’ groups, bursaries and help like that. But, I’m going to say it again: remember dreams don’t work unless you do. Young people who remember this will fly through the industry and do better than I am!”

Q. Do you still love to sing? “Haha! Stick me in a tractor and I just sing – I can’t help it. Jeremy took me to a concert the other day with The Who and I’ll always love The Wurzels!”

+ Britain According to Kaleb, The Wonderful World of Country Life, by Kaleb, is out now in hardback, ebook & audio. His theatre tour starts on 25th January and includes dates at Reading Hexagon on 25th February & G Live Guildford on 28th February. Book your tickets at