Jeremy Clarkson has admitted he is yet to win over a number of his neighbours in the Cotswolds, who remain unhappy with his running of Diddly Squat Farm and shop.
The 62-year-old broadcaster owns and runs the farm in the Oxfordshire village of Chadlington, the process of which has been documented for the popular Amazon Prime Video series Clarkson’s Farm.
Ahead of the launch of the show’s second series next month, Clarkson revealed that a number of locals are still less than impressed with his foray into farming, saying: “In a way, the village is divided.
“It’s difficult to say how many people support us in the village and how many don’t.
“Some of it, I’m sure, comes from my past, and driving quickly around corners while shouting, and they didn’t find that appealing.
“As far as the farm is concerned, it’s split pretty neatly between those who have a house number – you know, 22 Oak Avenue or 3 Grove or whatever – who tend to support us, because we bring business to the area and jobs for their kids. Some of them are more than happy to go have a nice pint with a lovely view just up the road. So that works.
“If they’ve got a house name, they tend not to like us, because they tend to have moved here from London quite recently, and they don’t want crowds of people coming to the farm shop, so that seems to me to be the split. That’s about as tightly as I can put it.”
Clarkson purchased the farm in 2008, but only took over the running of it himself in 2019.
The former Top Gear presenter received a poor reaction from some villagers after he expanded his farming business to include a farm shop and restaurant – which were later ordered to be closed after two planning applications were rejected by West Oxfordshire District Council – leading to considerable traffic congestion around the area as fans of the TV presenter flocked to visit.
Clarkson also revealed the outcome of a meeting he held with the locals, during which his lack of farming credentials and celebrity status were scrutinised.
“I can assure you, the people who spoke early on, I have emphatically not won them over. I lost them years ago,” he admitted.
“The ones who spoke first were the ones who really wanted to get it off their chest.”
However, Clarkson said there were “plenty” of other locals who appeared to be more receptive, and even encouraging of his work.
He added: “But I think the room had plenty of people in there who were alright with me.
“One guy said, ‘I’ve lived in this village for 50 years. There are jobs for my kids (now). My house is worth more. I can go up there and have a lovely pint and look at that view. It’s the best thing that’s happened to this area for the 50 years since I’ve lived here’.
“So, there’s that attitude. They’re very happy. And to be brutally honest, the farm shop is over a mile from the village so it’s of no consequence, really, to the people who actually hate me, and hate the farm shop, and hate the popularity.”
In December Clarkson’s column in The Sun newspaper, in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex and dreamed of her being paraded through British towns and publicly shamed, became the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s most complained about article.
Despite the backlash Clarkson received as a result of the comments, earlier this month a spokesperson for Amazon confirmed that the third series of Clarkson’s Farm is “currently in production to launch at a later date”.
Clarkson’s Farm series 2 will launch on Prime Video on February 10.