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A cunning plan

Back in 2019 I was approached by a TV production company to feature in a programme about the Thames, presented by Tony Robinson. I had seen the first series (where he had walked around Ashton Keynes), and as a big fan of his work (particularly Maid Marian and her Merry Men where he played the hapless Sheriff of Nottingham) so I said yes. They had seen a clip of our cattle walking through the Thames that I had put on Twitter and this had really got one of the creative's juices flowing. He badly wanted to film this with Tony going through the water behind them. He was talking about safety boats, divers, the full works, but I had to explain that we only did this perhaps twice a year and that it couldn't happen on demand, and that often in the summer Tony would barely get his ankles wet, let alone needing the RNLI.

It then got delayed and delayed, and in-between lockdowns the filming finally happened in June 2020.

It was a bit drizzly to start with, but the small crew were keen as mustard and happy to film what ever was happening. The director had done lots of research and was great at going with the flow. We filmed cow pats and talked dung beetles, a move between paddocks, walked a pair of cattle up the road to rejoin the bunch and stood next to the Thames talking grass fed beef. How much of any of this makes the cut we will see.

The biggest drama came after lunch. "Wheres Tony?" shouted the director. No one could find him. After a walk back to the road he was found fast asleep in his car. All that pulling my water trough must have necessitated a power nap!

Each scene was reshot lots of times, from different angles and to get it right. Also my official meeting of Tony was filmed right at the end of the day. I found being chirpy and repeating the same things a little tedious and at 7.30pm when they finally finished, I had had enough. I can't imagine doing this as a job day after day. It would drive me nuts! Hats off to the crew and and Tony.

Also I gained a new customer, the sound guy called in some months later on his way past for a box of meat, an excellent result!


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