Jimmy Doherty: Social distancing is a problem when you're trying to catch a sheep

Jimmy Doherty's opened up his farm for a new series. (Richard Hughes)

Presenter and farmer Jimmy Doherty has let cameras onto his Suffolk farm for Channel 4 programme Spring at Jimmy's Farm to show viewers at home just how it's running during the coronavirus pandemic.

The four-part series kicked off last Thursday as the TV personality gave viewers an insight into the goings on at the 280 acre park, which contains a woodland and animal park as well as a farm, while visitors are no longer allowed and animals need to be looked after by a reduced team.

The series is able to be filmed by a crew employing social distancing measures, but when it comes to running a farm itself, it's not quite a simple when animals have a mind of their own.

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In an interview with Yahoo UK about the series, Doherty, 44, shared: "For the film crews, it's easy because they can keep their distance from each other and also in the film, and when they're filming they can be quite a way away because they can zoom in with the lenses, all the rest of it. So that's not a problem.

Jimmy Doherty's farm is home to more exotic animals as well as pigs and sheep. (Richard Hughes)

"I think what the problem is, we try to practice social distancing with the staff here when everyone's working on the farm but, because we're very much locked down together, there's certain things we can't always do. So if you're trying to capture a sheep for example, to examine it, sometimes you need help and you can't always social distance when you need to, if an ewe is lambing or something. So it's a situation you have to get used to."

Like many businesses, the farm has reduced its staff to a bare minimum amount of workers.

"There were 35 full time people, we're down to now six," he said. "It's mainly just essential staff when it comes to animal care."

The show depicts spring unfolding at the farm amidst the difficult circumstances, all while incorporating elements of wildlife, gardening, food and science.

The farm is operating with a reduced number of staff in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. (Richard Hughes)

Many viewers will be familiar with Doherty's farming journey, as his early forays into farming with wife Michaela Furney were captured in Jimmy's Farm, the BBC documentary series that began in 2004.

Now Doherty, also known for presenting Friday Night Feast alongside pal Jamie Oliver, wants to bring more of the outside to those who don't have access to it at the moment under lockdown rules.

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"What I'm really hoping this does brings people is it is a taste of the countryside, and a bit of the outside for those people that can't access it," he added.

"Because for those that are at home and can only exercise one hour a day and they can't get to the park, I hope they're going to enjoy seeing our woodland and the animals and feel that they're still part of it all."

Spring at Jimmy’s Farm, Thursdays, 8pm on Channel 4. Catch up on All 4.