As you may recall back in September BBC2 introduced us to a superstar in pretty unusual circumstances, and I thought he was fantastic. This was Abz Love, ex-boyband member of 5ive breaking with his past and being born again as a super enthusiastic small-holding farmer. In my review I was hoping for a follow-up, and the Christmas telly listings gave me that gift.
Abz on the Christmas Farm was filmed 12 months down the road. Despite Abz and Vicky getting an A for effort they are far from their self-sufficient Good Life dream. There’s not much in the way of veg (“Slugs are thugs!”) and the farm seems pretty empty of life – the beloved horses have been sold and the chickens killed by a fox. They need to find a cash crop, and quick, to support them.
Despite the year being quite hard on them, neither have lost their sense of humour or their sunny smiles in front of the camera. And Abz’s turn of phrase is magnificent. They visit an alpaca farm and meet the creatures for the first time but decide against getting any of the “mythical beasts” becauase of the £1000 price tag.
They’re depending on the kindness of their new neighbours in the small Welsh community, taking onions and fire wood meant as a gift but insisting on giving their neighbour a fine alpaca wool hat in return. Abz might dick around quite a bit, but he’s profound about their survival. He says “it’s not really working; we’re just pretending” and on charity that “the tough part is accepting the help”. It’s lovely that their neighbours have made them feel so welcome – not an outcome we might have expected at the start of their adventure. Strangers from London with weird tattoos and farmers in small Welsh villages don’t typically seem so happy around each other. I guess it’s a breath of fresh air for both parties. And it helps enormously that Abz and Vicky are so charming and enthusiastic.
The hope for a Christmas miracle comes from the interest in Abz’s Bit Award listing on Ebay. The award, still being used as a doorstop, is the one shiny thing left that might sell for a few quid to buy much-needed machinery or fix the leaky roof. With rubbish signal in the valley it’s another adventure to get mobile internet – “lets go up a mountain”. They are shocked to find the award is set to sell for silly money. And the media like the story. Abz is interviewed from as far away as India and Australia. The farm is saved! What could possibly go wrong? We know it won’t be easy – we’ve learned nothing is easy out in the countryside – but no one expected the villain of the piece to be Ebay’s Fraud Department. The sale is cancelled and the account suspended, probably because it looks so damn odd. Vicky (the one in the relationship who has to make all the business phone calls, just like me) gets a call from Ebay and they sort it all out and the award is relisted, but the interest has evaporated and the Brit fails to sell. I’ve never been so disappointed in a doorstop.
So the Christmas party is subdued. There’s still hope but I’m worried – if we catch up with Abz again will it be for them selling the farm? Thanks for ruining Christmas Ebay.
Breaking News – another strange money-making scheme is being reported by The Mirror. Abz is releasing the single Cockadoodledoo to help make funds for the farm. Really though, it’s no stranger than alpacas. Good luck to them!