Helen Skelton’s ‘difficult reality’ of farming amid sad loss as presenter talks downsides

Springtime On The Farm: Helen Skelton says she ‘nearly cried’

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Countryfile host Helen Skelton has addressed the downsides of working on the Channel 5 programme On The Farm. The TV star spoke candidly about the sad reality the show presenters face when animals suddenly die.

The 37-year-old admitted that sometimes it can be a “massive issue” on the programme.

The On the Farm host shared the loss of an alpaca who was like a “pet” for the show staff.

Helen explained: “Sometimes the animals die so that is a massive issue. It’s difficult but that is the reality of farming. When you’re dealing with life it’s raw and it’s real.

“[The show] doesn’t always go to plan. Lambs die, animals die. But because of the way they farm they are more like pets.”

She went on: “We lost an alpaca last year and we’re all carrying on like it’s one of our family.

“But it’s rare. We’ve had 30 episodes and we’ve only had to film that situation twice.”

The small-screen star, who previously worked on Blue Peter, also shared the similarities between the BBC show and Springtime on the Farm.

“The similarities to Blue Peter and our audience is unreal,” Helen remarked. “Blue Peter is one of the proudest chapters of my career because the mail that got sent in for the animals was unbelievable.

She went on: “It took me seven years of being on that show to actually get it.

“There are so many people up and down the country who don’t have pets and can’t have animals. They see those pets on-screen as their pets.”

Helen added: “I think that’s what happens with This Week On The Farm.

“I’ve been at the farm in the summer with my kids when we’re not filming and you hear grown-ups saying ‘Let’s go and see Emma.'”


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Emma the Highland and her calf came to join the farm back in August of last year.

Helen added: “I didn’t get it until I heard it. These animals have helped people through some dark times.”

The small-screen star often captures moments on the farm from mischievous goats to being heckled by cows – and even a near-miss disaster with a reindeer.

The mum-of-two explained that it is a “challenge” filming with animals and has shared the outtakes on Instagram.

Speaking about filming mishaps, Helen said: “It’s constant. The whole joy and challenge of filming with animals are that they don’t care about schedules, cameras, or people needing to do stuff.

“Often things take a lot longer because you don’t want to get to spit on by the alpacas.”

Helen remarked: “I got in trouble one day because I’m always saying let me share the outtakes because people find it funny.

“Then I shared some outtakes but [reports] turned into ‘Helen apologised for an outburst of giggles.’ But it’s not uncommon for [the team] to get the giggles and lose it.”

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