FLICKY HARRISON chats to farmer and Countryfile star Adam Henson about his showbiz background

COUNTRYFILE presenter Adam Henson is following in his father’s footsteps both with his farming and his television work.

He will be chatting about his family and other animals when he brings his new theatre show to Swindon next month.

Adam runs the Cotswold Farm Park his father began, rearing rare breed farm animals, and he holds the tenancy, first taken on by his dad, on Bemborough Farm in Gloucestershire.

The farmer is also following the family tradition of working in the entertainment industry by presenting the popular Sunday evening magazine show on all things country.

“I sent in a video when the Countryfile presenter search was on, and John Craven took me under his wing, along with a great production team. At first I roved all over the UK covering general stories such as country pub games like toe wrestling, the same as arm wrestling just with your big toe. But when we moved to the prime time evening slot they used me as the farming specialist,” said Adam.

His father, Joe Henson, was also a familiar face on television presenting one of the first farming shows alongside Angela Rippon and Phil Drabble.

“It was Johnny Morris who heard of his collection of rare farm animals and because my dad also came from a thespian background be became the BBC’s tame farmer, and ended up having his own series,” said Adam.

Joe was the son of Leslie Henson, a music hall and musical comedian who was one of the founder members of ENSA entertaining troops during the Second World War.

“My father was a love child and because my grandfather was such a star and discreet, he did not know who he was until he was 12 years old. My father had a stammer, bad acne and a difficult childhood but he took solace in farm animals and made them his career,” said Adam, “Yet he was a fantastic father and as a child I was inspired by him.”

Adam’s uncle Nicky Henson is also in the world of television as an actor appearing in Inspector Morse and, more recently, Downton Abbey.

“But he likes to be remembered for his role in the episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil gets jealous because he thinks he has a woman hidden in the room. He’s the medallion man in that,” said Adam.

It is not just the people of Adam’s family that steal the limelight — his animals are also in demand on both the big and little screen.

“Our oxen can be seen in Braveheart, one of our pigs was in The Hour of the Pig that starred Colin Firth. She is much more of a star, of course, and Russell Crowe was appearing alongside our sheep in Robin Hood,” said Adam.

The farmer is also an author, and his book Like Farmer, Like Son was a big success. His latest offering, Farmer And His Dogs, covers all things canine from his own pet dogs, the super intelligence of working border collies on the farm, other working dogs such as dogs for the deaf, huskies, sniffer dogs and bomb disposal dogs.

Adam has a rich pool of experiences to bring to his theatre shows including his time on an Australian sheep shearing station, combating dust, flies and kangaroos, and his gap year on the Chatsworth estate, before he went to agricultural college.

“My dad had been filming at Chatsworth and got to know the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It was an amazing opportunity but it was terrifying being interviewed by the duchess.”

Adam Henson’s 2017 tour comes to Swindon’s Wyvern theatre on Saturday, September 14 at 7.30pm and tickets are £23.50 from 01793 524481 or visit swindontheatres.co.uk.