Special report - John Blow and Ben Barnett on the value of Yorkshire's agricultural showsChanging visitor demographic at Great Yorkshire Show gives farmers impetus to explain their industryYorkshire vet Julian Norton reflects on challenging but enjoyable first year in Boroughbridge in new bookBut for the first time in its 161-year history, the Great Yorkshire Show will be documented in a dedicated two-part television series.
Entitled The Great Yorkshire Show Show and due to be broadcast at an as-yet-undisclosed prime-time slot on Channel 5 next month, the programme’s producers at Daisybeck Studios hope it is the start of an annual TV event in the same way that The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has become.
Star presenters and special guests
Its Leeds-based producers have a proven track record of hit rural programming. Some 1.4m viewers regularly tune into its star show The Yorkshire Vet after eight series over the last four years.
To tell the story of the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, Bradford-born Anita Rani and Escape to the Country presenter Jules Hudson have been recruited as hosts, with Yorkshire Vet stars Julian Norton and Peter Wright lined up as special guests.
The programme will be a highlights-style package, featuring an array of competitors and contributors. Filming begins this month to capture the show’s build-up and will continue during the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s three-day event which opens on July 9.
The series will be the realisation of a long-held ambition for Paul Stead, Daisybeck’s managing director.
“We’ve been working towards this with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society for the last three years. It is a real opportunity to show the rest of the country why this country show is simply so fabulous,” Mr Stead said.
Great Yorkshire Show director warns of need to protect agricultural shows as tickets go on sale for 161st event'We hope to do the show justice'
As for Channel 5, giving the programme the go-ahead makes sense.
Greg Barnett, the head of commissioning at the London-based network, said: “We had a conversation at Channel 5 and said, we know Yorkshire is the area of the UK where we are most watched and we know what the Great Yorkshire Show means to the people of Yorkshire, so why don’t we do a show?
“I really hope we do it justice.”
With a wealth of recent Channel 5 shows focusing on rural Yorkshire - Springtime on the Farm shot largely at Cannon Hall Farm near Barnsley, Our Yorkshire Farm following the lives of shepherdess Amanda Owen and her family in the Dales, as well as The Yorkshire Vet, surely rural Yorkshire is now the place from which to tell the real story of rural Britain?
“People from Cornwall and Devon no doubt feel very passionately that their areas of the country reflect what’s important about rural Britain,” said Manchester-born Mr Barnett, who will visit the Great Yorkshire Show for the first time next month.
“But there is a uniqueness and something very special about Yorkshire as a county.
“It is a key and important shire of the UK and it’s a treat to be able to represent it.”