Countryfile presenter shares stories of ‘life on the farm’ in his live show

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Long running BBC television series Countryfile has been a must watch show for almost 30 years.

And now fans can gain an insight into the workings of the programme and get up close and personal with host Adam Henson when he comes to the Mac Theatre in Belfast next month.

Adam, who as well as presenting the hit TV series also runs Bemborough Farm, will be in Belfast on May 12 and will be sharing some secrets from the show.

He will also be talking about his own life, growing up on the farm and following in his father’s footsteps.

The 51-year-old has been in love with life on the farm since he was a child and never dreamed of doing anything else. “My dad was a first generation farmer,” explained Adam, who spoke to the News Letter this week.

“He was an actor’s son but he had a strange upbringing. He was born out of wedlock, which was a scandal in those days.

“His father was already married and had an affair with a chorus girl back in the 1930s, when it was taboo.

“He didn’t know his father until he was about 12 but he found solace in farm animals and worked on a farm as a child.”

Adam’s father went on to become a farm manager and eventually took on the tenancy at Bemborough Farm in 1962, which Adam took over in 2003.

“My father made it very interesting and exciting,” he continued. “We had Cotswold Farm Park to showcase rare farm animals and there was a playground and ice cream parlour so I thought ‘this is for me’.

“At school I was good at pottery and considered a career in ceramics but I thought there would be no money in it.

“I am very privileged to have been born into the farm. I have worked incredibly hard over the years to make it work.

“It’s been my life-long ambition and I genuinely wake up every morning and love what I do.”

But life on the farm is not the only similarity between Adam and his father. In fact Adam is walking in his dad’s footsteps in more than one way, because not only is he a second generation farmer, he is also a second generation television presenter.

“Because of our collection of rare farm animals, it got the attention of the BBC and dad was on Animal Magic with Johnny Morris, which was very popular in the 70s.

“The producers realised dad was quite good in front of the camera and he started a TV career.”

Adam’s father, Joe Henson MBE, went on to present ‘In the Country’ with Angela Rippon, making a name for himself on the small screen, just as his son went on to do many years later.

Adam didn’t dream of stardom but it certainly found him when his partner talked him into entering a competition launched by the BBC when they were searching for a new presenter for Countryfile.

“My partner works in TV and when Countryfile did a search for a new presenter she videoed me,” explained Adam.

“I wasn’t really that bothered but amazingly I got auditioned.”

And he loves the diversification the telly job gives him, as well as the opportunities if affords him to explore the world and meet new people.

“You get to see some beautiful parts of the British Isles and meet interesting people,” he continued.

“I have done lots of different reporting, from the Isle of Mull right down to Cornwall, and have explored lots of different subject matter.
“The show moved to prime time TV and now I mainly report on farming stories and that is what I love and I find it genuinely interesting,”

The close relationship that Adam had with his father, who sadly passed away in 2015, inspired him to put pen to paper and share the story of his extraordinary life and the bond that the pair shared.

‘Like Farmer Like Son’, which has just been released in paperback, began as a joint project however, tragically, whilst writing the book. Adam’s father passed away. However, Adam was determined to finish what they had started.

“I wrote the book about my life on the land, and my father’s incredible story about his childhood.

“It was fascinating because I didn’t know much about it until I was an adult. He wrote us all a letter and explained it. I wanted him to write a book so we did it together.

“Sadly he got ill, which was tragic for me because he was a huge role model. He never saw the final book. I included about his illness and how we had such an amazing bond.”

Adam will share stories from his childhood and that of his father when he speaks at the Mac Theatre in Belfast next month.

He will be also be sharing his thoughts on British agriculture, plus there will be a chance for the audience to ask questions.

Adam is looking forward to visiting Belfast, meeting local people and taking the chance to visit some sights whilst he is here.

“The Royal Ulster Agricultural Show is on the day I am over in Belfast and I’ve never been so I am hoping to get along to see that,” said Adam.

“On the night I will be talking about my life on the farm and our business.

“As well as Countryfile stories, I will be sharing some of my journeys and adventures, as well as some of my thoughts on food production.”

Adam will be speaking at The Mac in Belfast on May 12 at 7.45pm. For further information or to book tickets, priced from £12.50, contact the Box Office on 028 9023 5053, or log onto www.themaclive.com.