How have I lasted this long without seeing Fferm Ffactor? S4C’s utterly insane but lovingly bonkers farmers challenge series is apparently now into year three but it was only thanks to the power of twitter and an S4Carlein command that we use #fferm when talking about it that alerted me to its existence. Given that most of my S4C watching is Sgorio and random music programmes this may not be that surprising but – oh my! – what I have missed.
S4C seems to always be having to justify its existence, as if the creation of SuperTed and Fireman Sam were not enough to ensure its survival in perpetuity. Whilst on a personal level I do wonder at the expense incurred for some of its sport, its arts programmes nearly always perform wonders whilst looking like they’ve been put together for about the cost of a pint of Brains Mild. Until now, though, I was unaware that the world had welcomed Welsh language “reality” TV nor that it was like The Wurzels meets The Krypton Factor.
The tag in English is “the prize that most farmers dream of winning” and that word ‘most’ is revealing. Nobody is going to over the top here. You might have to speed shear a sheep, do strange things with tractors and stare down the judges but ultimately you also need to recognise which cow is which and know exactly which awful sounding condition is known by the acronym BVD. Only then, my farmer friend, will you get the keys to the Isuzu 4×4.
We started with ten and we should have been down to 9 but instead the judges spared both of the bottom two. My Welsh is so far from being good enough to fully know the reasons why (and I’m too proud to put on the English subtitles) but the universal language of hugging transcended the limitations of my knowledge. The tropes of reality television now cross linguistic borders and Debs and Rheinallt played the parts of the worried two waiting on the judges’ verdict perfectly.
There really aren’t any more words I can use to explain the magnificence of this programme. So I’ll let the trailer do the talking …