Fferm Ffactor 2018: The luvvies edition; S4C's hit farming show is back ... with barely a farmer in sight.
Byline: ANDREW FORGRAVE
email@example.com @FlintshireChron THE show began with single farmers, before teams of family contestants were introduced. Then young farmers were given the chance to shine.
Now Fferm Ffactor, S4C's hit farming competition, is to run with barely a farmer in sight.
The ninth series, starting next month, is to feature a line-up of 12 Welsh celebrities who, bar the team captains, are more city than country.
Presenter Ifan Jones Evans admitted he was worried.
"Most of them have never been close to a sheep, never mind driving a tractor! What could possibly go wrong?" Based at Coleg Cambria's Llysfasi site, near Ruthin, Fferm Ffactor Selebs includes the likes of weather presenter Sian Lloyd, Twin Town actor Llyr Evans and former rugby star Nathan Brew.
Marking a long-awaited return to the series is Llanfairfechan farmer Gareth Wyn Jones - he appeared in the first run in 2009, reaching the final four and effectively launching his TV career.
Gareth is one of four team captains in the series - each team has three celebs, two of whom are farming novices.
Another is Y Sioe presenter Ioan Doyle, a Bethesda shepherd whose team includes Linda Brown, star of S4C's Run Sbit, and Cefin Roberts, director of Ysgol Glanaethwy performing arts school.
"When I heard who was on my team, I thought to myself, 'Wow, there's a challenge ahead!'" admitted Ioan glumly.
In the first episode, Ioan's team will go head-to-head with a trio led by singer and radio presenter Elen Pencwm, a former young farmer from Talybont. Joining her will be TV and radio presenter Alun Williams and former Wales international rugby star Nathan Brew.
Nathan said they will will be looking to Elen for leadership: "Alun and I will be putting a lot of faith in her farming ability, because neither of us has a clue!" he said.
In episode two, Bethan Gwanas hopes to impart her wisdom as she competes with BBC Radio Cymru presenter Dyl Mei and Twin Town actor Llyr Evans.
Bethan has mixed hopes for her team.
"Dyl Mei is our version of Google - he knows everything there is to know," she said. "Llyr? I'm not so sure about him!" They'll be ranged against the fourth and final team, the selfconfessed "drama queens", led by Gareth Wyn Jones.
His team-mates include comedian, TV star and impresario Stifyn Parri, and weather presenter Sian Lloyd, perhaps the only contestant with prior reality show experience, having appeared in the second series of I'm A Celebrity. Unhappily, she was first to be eliminated.
Gareth, however, is upbeat about his team's chances: "My team bring a lot of drama to everything they do!" he insisted.
Winners of the first two episodes will then compete for the Fferm Ffactor title in the third episode.
Not only pride will be at stake: a PS3,000 donation will be made to a charity nominated by the winning team.
Re-joining the Fferm Ffactor judging lineup will be Caryl Gruffydd Roberts, Richard Tudor and Wyn Morgan.
? Fferm Ffactor Selebs is a Cwmni Da production for S4C. The ninth series starts on Tuesday, February 6, at 8pm.