#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 15°C Saturday 31 October 2020

Big Week on the Farm is back - here's a reminder of why it was such a hit last year

Remember Nathan Carter delivering those cute little lambs? It was graphic.

LAMBING, CALVING AND hatching – it’s all happening this week and even if you don’t live near a farm, or even a tree, Big Week on The Farm plans to educate you.

The RTÉ show was a massive success last year, with an average of 326,000 people tuning in to watch the live farming programme. (That’s a 17% increase on RTÉ One’s typical average viewing figures for the slot.)

Áine Lawlor and Ella McSweeney are back to present with a live studio audience of 150 people watching on.

Last year it was broadcast from John Fagan’s farm in Westmeath, while this year it has moved over to the farm of Patrick and Geraldine Shalvey in Co Cavan.


Celebrity guest presenters for the week ahead include Ruby Walsh, Al Porter, Vogue Williams, Pat Shortt and Aoibhín Garrihy.

So what made the show so successful? 

The first week of April is one of the busiest weeks for farmers and the show aims to give viewers an insight into what actually happens on farms across the country at this time of year.

Last year viewers learned about cows, sheep, foxes, badgers, swans and pine-martens – but not in your typical nature programme setting with a narrator giving facts.

The faced-paced programme shows the happenings on a range of different types of farms with a different celebrity guest every evening, who are also – very obviously – learning on the job.

Big-Week-on-the-Farm-Áine-Lawlor-and-Ella-McSweeney-2 Source: RTÉ

Nathan Carter, Anna Geary, Jean Byrne and Roz Purcell appeared as celebrity guests last year and they were set a number of tasks on each show.

Speaking to Ray D’Arcy on RTÉ Radio 1 about the week ahead, Ella McSweeney described it as “the best time”.

“I know this year with the Cavan family it’s going to be the same, it’s just so much fun.

I remember last year nobody really knew how it was going to turn out and the reaction was just incredible.
“It’s a real celebration of Spring, of wildlife, of farming and of the season and what we’re heading into.”

Challenging tasks

A new world record was even set on the show last year when Donegal man Ivan Scott sheared a sheep in 37.9 seconds, beating the previous record of 39.31 seconds (which was set in Australia in 2010).


Following on from that success, the plan this year is to break three Guinness World Records live on the show.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

And the professionals weren’t the only ones setting records. Celebrity co-hosts battled it out in the Pull the Udder One challenge to milk a cow.

Met Éireann’s Gerry Murphy emerged victorious, taking home the coveted Golden Udder trophy.

Meanwhile, host Áine Lawlor beat camogie star Anna Geary in the battle to find the fastest chicken plucker.

And in some very graphic footage, Nathan Carter made headlines when he helped deliver twin lambs.


Darragh McCullough and Helen Carroll will also be reporting in from two different farms a night.

Describing what’s in store for the location presenters, RTÉ said, “They’ll witness the laying of snail caviar in Leinster, the birth of a baby buffalo calf in Cork, the arrival of 300 new-born goslings on a farm in Meath, farm-to-fork pork production in Donegal and a sheep-dairy in Mayo”.

Big Week on the Farm will be aired at 7pm from 3-7 April. 

Read: Donegal man beats world record for shearing sheep in fastest time>

About the author:

Read next: