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10 November 2015 @ 11:31 am
I failed to see Spectre at the weekend because when I looked at the cinema website to check the times I discovered something called Addicted to Sheep, a documentary about a year on a tenant farm in Upper Teesdale. On the grounds that I could not possibly be a person who confronted with the opportunity to see something called Addicted to Sheep set nearly in the Yorkshire Dales, but much bleaker, turned it down in favour of James Bond, I went.

The film was utterly charming, largely on account of the family at the centre of it, farmers Tom and Kay Hutchinson and their three children, who were terrific at engaging with the camera, thoughtful, good at explaining things, and caring but not sentimental about their animals. Sheep farming as a tenant farmer looks incredibly hard work, not helped by the ambition of the average sheep to die as soon as possible. The Hutchinsons’ enthusiasm for the perfect Swaledale is both passion and economic necessity – competing with the big companies is impossible in terms of quantity, but quality can just about make a small scale operation viable. The film didn’t cover it, but they also farm cattle with the same approach.

Here’s the trailer:

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