Advertisement

Foraging with Farage: An insight into the election's most divisive character

Julie Etchingham takes a walk with Nigel Farage on Deal seafront Photo: ITV’s Tonight programme

Like a lot of men of a certain age, Nigel Farage has a shed.

In it, he has boxes and boxes of stuff he's collected while foraging in the Kent countryside since childhood - the sort of stuff thrown aside and abandoned by some of the grand country homes near where he still lives.

"Pot lids, and bottles and old pipes and all sorts of things. I've got cupboards...sheds full of all this stuff I collected. I think I do find throwing things away very difficult." he tells me.

He looks a bit bashful about it, a word I never thought I'd use when describing the Ukip leader. It must drive his wife mad.

Not that we get a chance to ask his wife what she thinks - because during the weeks we spend filming with Farage, Britain's brashest and boldest politician is also, we discover, the most private.

We had no cosy chats in his (one) kitchen and no chance to meet his children (he has four - two grown up sons from his first marriage - two daughters with his second wife) - and certainly no opportunity to talk to his old school friends.

But the time we spent strolling in the Kent Countryside with him, or taking in the seafront at Deal or sitting (predictably) in the pub with him, or accompanying him to Ukip rallies did give us an extraordinary insight into the most divisive character in this election.

For a start, he does God - and tells me what he prays about.

In an unconnected conversation, he also tells me about his skinny-dipping off Deal beach.

Nigel Farage spoke about family and politics on the beach in Deal Credit: ITV’s Tonight programme

He's testy and defensive when challenged on racism in his party, and in his own commentary on immigration.

He shrugs off the fact one of his rallies is held in a lap dancing club, telling me 'People in this part of England take their pleasures in a number of different ways' - but admits to feeling sick with nerves before a big speech.

We ask him about the booze and the fags and the pubs - and he tells me he's partial to a bit of karaoke.

So what's his favourite song then? I get the sneaking feeling I know what he's going to say before he opens his mouth. 'Oh - easy - Sinatra!" he rasps, 'I Did it My Way', as he raises his pint.

Watch Nigel Farage doing it his way in British politics on “Spotlight – Farage:Tonight” - ITV Thursday at 7.30pm.