Sunday 11 December 2016

Adam Henson bids to drive up Top Gear ratings with Countryfile crossover

Published 20/06/2016 | 00:11

Countryfile presenter and farmer Adam Henson has an idea to improve Top Gear's ratings
Countryfile presenter and farmer Adam Henson has an idea to improve Top Gear's ratings

Countryfile's Adam Henson has made a bid to appear on Top Gear.

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The TV presenter and farmer believes he could bring some countryside pursuits to the relaunched BBC Two motoring show.

He told the Press Association: "It would be lovely to take some celebrities... out of London... and take them on a tour of the countryside to show them what it's all about.

"I think we should get a load of tractors on Top Gear with Chris Evans - I'd love to do that."

A Countryfile crossover could bring in new viewers and provide a boost for Top Gear, which has seen disappointing ratings since Evans took the helm from axed Jeremy Clarkson.

The Top Gear audience hit 4.4 million in the first week, and plummeted to 2.8 million in its second outing. In contrast, BBC One's Countryfile can attract up to nine million viewers.

On beating Top Gear in the ratings, Henson said: "It's absolutely delightful, yes, and producing it on a third of the budget. So I think it's great. I think that Countryfile is really going from strength to strength."

Henson, 50, who has just released his memoir Like Farmer, Like Son, said he would also love to welcome the Queen on to the show and take her on a tour of his Cotswold Farm Park where he conserves rare breeds.

He said: "S he loves animals, she loves her farm animals and she's got a herd of Highland cattle. I bought a bull off her a few years ago.

"I know that she would just be totally engaged in looking at some of our wonderful animals. I've got about 50 different breeds of seven different species and I'd love to show them to her. I know she would be genuinely interested."

Henson learned his own ease with people from his father Joe, who is also a farmer and TV presenter - and is the subject of his book.

He said: "He had time for people, he was a real gentleman and certainly with rare breeds conservation and livestock breeding, which was his passion, he would have time to encourage people."

On the upcoming EU referendum, Henson said he will be voting Remain.

"What I don't know is what agriculture or the country will look like if we come out," he said.

"We haven't been given a clear picture of what it's going to be like, and I'm a little bit risk-averse, I wouldn't want to jump off a step in a blindfold not knowing what I was jumping into."

He added: " I believe that staying in will give us more opportunities. I think it's better environmentally, I think it's better for green energy, I personally think it's better for agriculture to stay together."

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