Clarkson’s Farm 2 is currently the number one show on Amazon’s Prime streaming service, with Jeremy sitting ahead of Jack Ryan, J.Lo and Jack Reacher in the battle of the Js. Jolly good work, Jezza and friends.
Fans of the show have been quick to heap praise on the second series, which charts the ongoing battle with red tape, bovine TB, bird flu and, most significantly, West Oxfordshire District Council, as Clarkson attempts to turn Diddly Squat farm into a profitable business.
You don’t have to like Clarkson – and there are plenty of people who don’t, especially following recent events – but it’s impossible not to be captivated by this entertaining and insightful look at the ins and outs of modern farming.
Not everyone is impressed, with Clarkson’s apparent cavalier attitude towards farm safety coming in for criticism from the Health and Safety Executive. A spokesperson said: “We are aware of some concerns made about the programme and the image it portrays of poor risk management in farming. As a result, enquiries are being made.”
Several threads run through the eight episodes of the second series. Kaleb’s invaluable assistance in keeping Clarkson on the straight and narrow (at times, quite literally). Gerald’s fast-talking jibber-jabber. Charlie’s calmness and reassurance under pressure. And Clarkson’s magnificent Range Rover (L322).
At the last MOT in September 2022, the Range Rover, a Vogue SE with a 3.6-litre TDV8 engine, had covered 85,080 miles. The front brakes and rear tyres needed replacing, but it was a generally clean pass for a Land Rover with 85k miles and 15 years of hard use behind it.
Clarkson has owned at least two, maybe more, over the years, and he has an attachment to them that goes beyond the rational. Writing in The Sunday Times, in November – when he revealed David Cameron had borrowed his prized 1961 Massey tractor and blown a hole in the side of the engine block – Clarkson said: ‘I have similar problems with my 17-year-old Range Rover. Both its turbochargers “blew up” recently and the cost of replacing them far outweighed the total value of the car. But sending it off to be turned into pots and pans was too much of a wrench. It would be like executing your dog because the bill for mending its broken leg would be bigger than the cost of the animal in the first place.
‘Of course I could afford to replace the old Range Rover with the latest model. I’ve tried it and it’s a damn good car. But I’d have to wait 17 years for it to become “my” car. Until then it would just be a tool.’
To our eyes, the L322 somehow manages to look classy and understated, rather than vulgar and ostentatious. Clarkson’s Range Rover blends in with the Oxfordshire countryside like a wax jacket, a pair of Hunter Balmoral wellies and a Springer Spaniel. It’s the right age, spec and colour. We said something similar about The Queen’s 2009 L322 when rounding up our favourite ‘old money’ modern classics.
Episode six of Clarkson’s Farm 2 sees the L322 hit peak brilliance when Jeremy Clarkson opens it up to reveal a drinks cabinet in the boot. He calls it an “emergency first aid kit”, before pouring a couple of glasses of sloe gin. If you didn’t want an L322 before this episode, you do now.
This Top Gear video sees Clarkson introducing the drinks and gun cabinet to his former BBC colleagues, before James May attempts to do the same with his Fiat Panda. Needless to say, there are no bottles of sloe gin in the Italian city car.
Needless to say, all this talk of L322s has prompted the editor to ask for a Buying Guide to accompany those we already have for the Range Rover Classic and the later P38A model, from 1994. The L322 started off life, you’ll remember, with engines from BMW because it wasn’t until 2001, the year the L322 launched, that BMW sold Land Rover to Ford. Then came Jaguar petrol engines and a Ford-made V8 diesel, and along the way owners have relished the lofty and wafty driving experience but expressed no small amount of irritation at the repair bills. Examples cost from as little as £3000, the best £20,000 – and in between it’s a game of chance where the usual used-car buying common sense applies.
If you’ve managed to sit through an episode of Clarkson’s Farm without checking the classifieds for pre-facelift L322s let us know in the comments. In the meantime, we’re going to raise a glass to the majesty of the third-generation Range Rover.