Story of sheep addiction adapted for small screen

The Hutchinsons' Swaledale herd, stars of the film 'Addicted to Sheep' which is set to debut on the BBC next week.

The Hutchinsons' Swaledale herd, stars of the film 'Addicted to Sheep' which is set to debut on the BBC next week.

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A critically acclaimed film about a pair of Swaledale sheep farmers in the North Pennines is being adapted for two showings on the BBC next week.

Made by North East-based Provenance Films, ‘Addicted to Sheep’ documents a year in the lives of tenant farmers Tom and Kay Hutchinson. It is shot and directed by French dairy farmer’s daughter Magali Pettier who sought to capture both the beauty of the landscape and the hard graft it takes just to survive in a tough profession.

Since its cinema debut at Sheffield Doc/Fest last summer, the 85-minute feature has gone on to score praise from Observer film critic Mark Kermode, among others, and it was featured in an episode of the BBC’s Countryfile programme last weekend.

But the film will reach a whole new audience this week, when a specially-adapted 60-minute version airs on BBC4 on Monday at 9pm; repeated on Tuesday at 11pm.

Miss Pettier said: “Naturally, we were a little bit nervous at first as we had worked so hard to make our ‘labour of love’ which we felt had the pace that reflected the lives that farmers lead.

“But what was also important for us was that as many people as possible find out about tenant hill farming, where our food comes from and the challenges that farmers face in general. And so after reflection, we thought a TV version would help us do that.”

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