How has TV’s petrolhead-in-chief been reborn a son of the soil? As the presenter wins a farming award for Clarkson’s Farm, he talks about his new enemies: badgers, Bafta and ‘the red trousers brigade’

Over early morning coffee at his Oxfordshire farmhouse, Jeremy Clarkson is talking about his new nemesis, badgers, and the fact that they constantly urinate, usually on his grass. “If they’ve got TB and a cow eats that bit of grass, then you, the taxpayer, pay for that cow to be killed. A quarter of the world’s badgers live in the UK, causing chaos. But if you say, ‘I’m going to shoot a badger’, you can expect to find your house on fire within 10 minutes. Carrie Johnson is a badger enthusiast, so the government aren’t likely to do anything while she’s running around.”

Your understanding of why badgers, and the leanings of Boris Johnson’s wife, have got Clarkson’s Levi’s in a twist may depend on how far along his career you’ve travelled. Since leaving the BBC’s Top Gear in 2015, he has co-hosted four series of The Grand Tour (basically Top Gear with 300 times the budget) on Amazon Prime Video. In his most recent Amazon venture – Clarkson’s Farm – he attempts to cultivate the 1,000 acres of land he’s owned since 2008 but didn’t give an agricultural hoot about until the actual farmer who worked them retired in 2019. “I didn’t have a clue what was growing in my fields,” he says, gesturing all around. “Now I know what’s in them all.”

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