Jim Smith shoots The Farm sitcom pilot for BBC Scotland

ExclusiveMonday 1st February 2021, 4:52pm by Jay Richardson

The Farm. Image shows from L to R: Mother (Ann-Louise Ross), Jim MacDonald (Jim Smith), Donnie (Chris Forbes). Copyright: BBC

Stand-up and farmer Jim Smith has made a BBC sitcom pilot, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

A 30-minute taster of The Farm, in which Perthshire livestock breeder Smith plays a cloddishly exaggerated version of himself, has been shot by BBC Studios to air on BBC One Scotland on 17th February, following a successful series of shorts for iPlayer from 2018.

The pilot was written by Smith, who plays lovelorn Jim MacDonald, along with fellow stand-up Chris Forbes (Scot Squad), who plays none-too-bright farmhand Donnie.

It follows farmer Jim as he faces sticky situations whilst trying to keep his agricultural business on track. It's not always idyllic as Jim, tractorman Donnie and his mother Mary regularly struggle against the elements, each other and outside forces, on their farm in deepest Perthshire.

Jim is a proud man; often wounded but never beaten, who cares deeply about what he does. Mary is extremely hard to please and doesn't mind delivering home truths. Donnie is loyal to a fault and always eager to please.

The Jim's neighbouring farm is up for let and Jim's excited about the possibilities. But a strident rambler and some birthday blues threaten to derail him.

Ann-Louise Ross (Bob Servant Independent) returns as Jim's temperamental mother, while Anita Vettesse (Get Duked!) plays Sandra the Rambler and Billy Mack (Still Game) appears as Kevin the Factor.

Like the shorts, the pilot is filmed at Smith's own farm with his dog, sheep and cows. Stuart Elliott, who helmed the iPlayer shoots, returns again as director.

One minute-long episode from The Farm's online series, The Fence, has attracted 3.1million views on Facebook alone.

Speaking about the possibility of a pilot, Smith told The Scotsman in March: "Of course, it's all filmed here, so that's great, I don't have to go anywhere.

"Those five-minute episodes have trained us up for it. Hopefully, we can plough on with that."

Here's one of The Farm shorts:

Also coming to BBC Scotland this spring is the retrospective clip show Scotland Made Me, in which comedians and other celebrities recall their formative years growing up north of the border, taking a wry, sideways look at the popular culture of the time, the trials of adolescence and how it made them the person they are today, thanking Scotland for everything it's done for them whilst also apportioning some blame.

The Farm star Forbes is one of the comic voices featured in the eight 15-minute episodes, exploring the themes of work, education, romance, family and the great outdoors.

Other comedians appearing in the series include Fern Brady, Des Clarke, Janey Godley, Ashley Storrie, Sanjeev Kohli, Fred MacAulay, Leo Kearse, Wendy Wason, Raymond Mearns, Julia Sutherland, Chris MacArthur-Boyd, Ray Bradshaw, Jamie MacDonald, Jojo Sutherland, TJ Singh and Bruce Devlin, as well as broadcasters Brian Taylor, Judith Ralston, Martel Maxwell and Amy Irons.

Directed and produced for Spud Gun Productions by Stuart Locke, whose credits include the Jason Byrne-fronted gameshow Don't Say It ... Bring It!, the series commission of Scotland Made Me follows a successful 2018 pilot.

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