WHEN Jeremy Clarkson took on the challenge of running his Cotswolds farm - despite having no farming experience - he enlisted the help of young Kaleb Cooper.

Having worked on farms since he was a schoolboy, Kaleb knew a thing or two about agriculture. And, to the delight of Clarkson’s Farm viewers, he soon put Jeremy in his place.

Kaleb emerged as the star of the Amazon Prime Video hit. His deadpan delivery, offbeat observations and exasperated reactions to Clarkson’s unconventional farming techniques won him an army of fans, and “Chipping Norton’s finest celebrity farmer” went on to write Sunday Times bestseller The World According to Kaleb. Now Kaleb is hitting the road for his first UK tour, heading for Bradford in February.

Kaleb, a farmer contractor, grew up in the Cotswolds and studied agriculture at college. When Jeremy’s farm manager retired, he decided to run the farm himself. He took on Kaleb to help manage the farming and their efforts are documented in Clarkson’s Farm.

Kaleb’s frustration in teaching Jeremy a thing or two about farming has been hugely endearing. In his live show he’ll be sharing his views on many things - not least sheep (‘stupid’), Jeremy Clarkson (‘effing idiot’), goats (‘they’re a proper good clear-up animal, they eat everything, no wonder they taste horrible’), New York (‘if it’s like London where there are no tractors, that’s no good’) and, crucially, his many haircuts.

Despite becoming a household name, Kaleb remains a hard-working farmer with feet firmly on the ground. As well as giving audiences chance to participate in some ‘interesting rural pastimes’ in his show, he’ll be highlighting challenges British farmers face today. At 13, Kaleb was given responsibility for three chickens on four acres of land. Within months, this turned into 450 hens, and he sold the eggs to locals, including teachers at his school. Aged 14 he was breeding sheep and working on a dairy farm. At 15, he bought his first tractor.

Now 25, he’s a father-of-two and, despite never having read a book in his life (the first one he read was one of Jeremy’s) his debut book The World According to Kaleb sold more than 80,000 copies. It laid bare Kaleb’s musings on everything from existentialism to comb-overs, and why he doesn’t want to visit the Mediterranean. His second book, Britain According to Kaleb, examines weird and wonderful things we get up to outdoors - not least gravy wrestling in Lancashire, nettle eating in Somerset and Hereford’s Best Dressed Stick contest - with his trademark deadpan wit.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kaleb's new book looks at what we get to in the great outdoors Kaleb's new book looks at what we get to in the great outdoors (Image: Submitted)

Kaleb’s a busy chap; he’s been filming series three of Clarkson’s Farm, launching an agricultural bursary through the Royal Agricultural University and creating his own range of cider with Hawkstone. He’s amassed two million Instagram followers and he collects tractors and cars.

So what’s Kaleb excited about seeing on tour? “Different farms,” he says. “I can’t wait to look over hedges and go, ‘Why would you stack the hay bales that way?’”

He’s also hoping to exchange ideas with farmers. “Everyone has their own ways of doing stuff. One farmer will plough this way, another that way. If you combine the two, you might do it better. But most importantly, I’m keen to show people who aren’t from a farming background or in the industry what farming is all about. Let’s face it, when has a farmer ever done a theatre tour?”

Why has Clarkson’s Farm has struck such a chord? “Everything you see is real. There’s no going back. After I’ve ploughed a field, I can’t go back over and plough it again. So, everything you see is what happens. There are many different aspects. It shows how hard it is to produce food, and to make money.”

Has it shown city folk how tough farming can be? ”I think farmers watch the show and think ‘Finally, a programme that shows the public what it’s all about’. We do everything by the book. You have a lot of red tape, you’ve got meetings, paperwork, physical labour, breakdowns, animal husbandry, the weather.”

How would you describe the relationship between you and Jeremy? “We just clicked. First time we met, I was driving a tractor past his house and he was worried about his cat. He said, ‘Can you slow down a bit?’ I replied, ‘Yeah, yeah’ then I just stayed at the same speed because I was busy! We’re good friends. He took me to The Who concert.

“In every friendship you have an argument and a sulk. It’s about how you react at the end. Do you stay angry or go ‘Do you want a cup of tea?’ That’s what we do. No hard feelings. It’s not like we’re the same age. I’m 25. But I’ve got an older mentality. I grew up too quickly and I think in my head I’m a 60-year-old man like him!”

It must frustrate you when Jeremy doesn’t listen though. “He goes ‘I can do that more quickly than you.’ When we were drilling the first time, I told him, ‘Go up and down to get your tramlines.’ He thought he could go round and round and do it more quickly. I said, ‘There’s a reason I told you not to do that. Listen to me.’ He doesn’t listen to me.”

Do people come up to you in the street? “Absolutely. It’s amazing when a young kid goes ‘Kaleb, I’m going to get three chickens.’ On World Book Day I got sent pictures of kids dressed as me with a perm and a flat cap. I went, ‘You know what? I’ve made it.’

Would you pack in farming for a TV career? “Never. I like that some of my farming is also on TV but if other projects started to interfere, it would be a problem. I’m still very much a farmer. That’s the business I started at 13-years-old.”

Why do you love farming? “I enjoy the science, the labour, the tractors. As a farmer you’ve got to think all the time. I enjoy rearing animals, having my own meat on the table. When you sit down for Sunday lunch and go ‘I grew those potatoes, that beef came off the farm, that pork came out of my woodland.’ Your little boy is eating a sausage like it’s the best thing in the world and you go ‘I know exactly where that meat came from.

"I know that is 100per cent real, nothing artificial.’ Seeing my kids have a life around farms is fantastic. My little boy is two-and-a-half, he carries buckets, he feeds calves, he’ll try and jump on pigs’ backs.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kaleb is looking forward to hitting the roadKaleb is looking forward to hitting the road (Image: So Visuals)

What do you hope audiences will take from your show? “In the theatre that one night, I want the same atmosphere as an agricultural show. Everyone can enjoy something funny, but also learn about where food comes from. And how to milk a cow. Why don’t I bring a cow on stage? You have been warned!”

* Kaleb Cooper is at St George’s Hall on February 2. Call (01274) 432000 or visit bradford-theatres.co.uk