Since moving to Scotland, I’ve found myself watching more and more programming on S4C.
For those of you who aren’t aware of S4C, it’s Wales’ equivalent of Channel 4, providing a whole host of shows including cartoons, sports shows and even soap operas in the Welsh language.
Growing up in Wales, we are all taught our native tongue as a compulsory subject up to the age of 16, and in some areas of the country, especially in North Wales, the language is still spoken on a daily basis by the majority of the community. I was quite good at Welsh at school, but I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t really take a lot of interest, and as a result these days my grasp of the language is average at best.
One of the things that S4C does best is producing truly great farming television.
One of the first programmes I discovered after realising we could pick up S4C on our telly was Fferm Ffactor. Fferm Factor is a competition to find the best farmer in Wales (think X Factor for farming), that puts farmers young and old through their paces in a series of tasks. The tasks range from everything to tractor driving and sheep shearing right down to marketing challenges and interviews, with one farmer being asked to leave by the competition judges.
The winner of Fferm Ffactor wins a brand new Izuzu D Max Yukon pick up truck but the real prize is one of those awesome Fferm Ffactor hoodies! I really want one, so if you guys over at S4C or Fferm Ffactor are reading this, you know where to find me!
While watching BBC’s Countryfile, I can’t help but notice my Twitter timeline fill up with a lot of negative feedback, especially from members of the farming community. Many people, including myself, seem to believe that at times Countryfile ‘dumbs down’, which is exactly what make Ffermio such a refreshing change.
Similar to Countryfile, Ffermio is a farming and countryside magazine show, but unlike the BBC’s offering concentrates more on every day farmers and farming issues such as animal health, market prices and food production and features less of the twee stories that often plague our Sunday night viewing.
I’m aware that I’m coming across really negatively, and I’m not trying to bash Countryfile here (I often enjoy quite a lot of the features on the BBC show), however, I do feel that the BBC would do well to take a few tips from Ffermio does things. In an age where so many people aren’t aware of where their food comes from or the work involved before it reaches their supermarket shelves, programmes such as this are more important than ever!
My latest discovery is Blwyddyn y Bugail: Ioan Doyle, a short series following new entrant Ioan Doyle and his girlfriend Helen. Ioan and Helen fell in to farming after chancing upon an orphan lamb on a mountain road. The pair took in the lamb, called her Florence, and raised her on a bottle. Little did they know that Florence would go on to be the foundation of their flock!
Having not come from farming stock and having very little experience with sheep, seeing everything Ioan and Helen have achieved is really inspirational. They started with one wee lamb and now farm across a number of rented fields and the Carneddau mountains and are even selling their own home produced lamb. If you find the pair as inspirational as I do, want to find out more or fancy trying some of their home produced lamb you can say hello on their Facebook page or pay their website a visit!
If you like the sound of any of these shows and want to check them out there’s plenty of ways for you to do so! S4C is available across a number of platforms, with the majority of programmes including English subtitles!
If you live in Wales, it couldn’t be easier! Simply head over to Channel 4 and you’ll find S4C there.
If you live outside Wales, don’t worry. Those with satellite TV can find it at the following; Sky (Channel 134) and Freesat (Channel 120).
Failing that, UK residents can watch S4C online! S4C programmes are available for up to 35 days after broadcast on their catch up service S4C Clic.