The Fast and the Farmer-ish: TV’s new tractor show ‘really tested your driving skills’

Two teams from Northern Ireland will go head-to-head in Wednesday night’s episode of The Fast and the Farmer-ish on BBC Three and BBC One NI.
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The new show has been described as Top Gear with tractors, and sees teams of three from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales battle it out to be crowned the UK’s best tractor drivers.

Filmed in Ballymoney, County Antrim, the seven-part series promises to deliver some high-octane driving challenges.

The series is hosted by well-known farmer and social media personality, Tom Pemberton.

The Determinators' 
Stephanie Reid. (C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker PressThe Determinators' 
Stephanie Reid. (C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
The Determinators' Stephanie Reid. (C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

The teams from Northern Ireland will feature in the next episode - ‘Bogmen’ and ‘The Determinators’ - with the show airing again for younger fans on BBC One Northern Ireland the following Monday.

Bogmen is made up of three best friends from the heart of Fermanagh, Daniel Thornton, Wayne Manley and William Parkinson, while The Determinators includes Stephanie Reid, Shannon Cartin and David Boyd.

Viewers will see them test their raw speed in a hotly-contested drag race, their artistic skills in an extra-terrestrial mowing challenge, before being literally shocked by the toughest reversing manoeuvre they will ever encounter.

Explaining how he found himself taking part in the wacky challenges, Bogmen’s Wayne Manley said it was team-mate, Parky, he had to thank!

Wayne Manley.
(C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker PressBogmen's 
Wayne Manley.
(C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Bogmen's Wayne Manley. (C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

The show got in touch with William Parkinson, after he took part in an interview for it at a local country event, and asked him to put a team together.

“He was very cryptic about it all,” Wayne revealed.

The 27-year-old, from Florencecourt, has been behind the wheel of a tractor since he could sit on his granda’s knee.

He has plenty of tractor driving experience under his belt, having worked for a local farmer, as well as helping on his grandparents’ farm, tending to his granda’s suckler herd.

The Determinators.
(C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker PressThe Determinators.
(C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
The Determinators. (C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

And, Wayne has lots of big machine credentials, thanks to his ‘day job’ working as a tree surgeon.

“There was a bit of rivalry in our heat,” he explained, “but we are a bit more laid back.

“As we got into it, things got a bit more competitive!

“It really tested your driving skills – it wasn’t just your usual day’s driving.”

(C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker PressBogmen.
(C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Bogmen. (C) Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

The teams made their way to Ballymoney for filming, which took place over the course of two days.

“It was spread out over a couple of days as it took time to set up the challenges,” Wayne said.

“They weren’t just straightforward, so that took a while.

“It was mighty value. You really had to think about things.”

Ballygowan woman, Stephanie Reid, isn’t short of experience either – she works at Greenmount, rears calves and drives tractors!

Stephanie got roped into the show while she was drawing silage one day.

“A man involved in the show, Ciaran O’Rourke, knew where I worked so he jumped in with me and then asked if I would be interested,” she commented.

“It was fun! There was plenty of craic and plenty of chat.”

While Stephanie didn’t know her Determinators team-mates before the show, she soon got to know Shannon and David really well.

As for the rivalry, The 25-year-old continued: “I would be pretty competitive, but I don’t let it show.

“We were getting on just as well as the boys. We communicated a whole lot better than them.”

She remarked: “It’s not every day you’re doing a drag race in a tractor.”

Stephanie said there was a mixture of tractors involved in the competition, old and new.

“There was a Fiat that was 25 years old, and there were a few modifications.”

Whilst Stephanie can usually be found in the cab of a New Holland, she was in the red for this show, putting a Massey through its paces.

“I would recommend the show to anyone. If the opportunity comes up to take part, do it,” she enthused.

The show kicked-off last Wednesday night on BBC Three and BBC One NI, with two English teams battling it out for a place in the semi-finals.

If you missed it, the first instalment will be repeated on BBC One Northern Ireland (and HD) this Monday night (14 February) at 7.30pm.

However, if you just can’t wait to see the teams (including those from Northern Ireland) in action, the entire series has landed on iPlayer, meaning you can watch all seven episodes now!