Veteran racehorse trainer to front his own weekly feature on popular farming show
Octogenarian racehorse trainer and farmer Michael Easterby yesterday spoke of his excitement at being approached to become the farming correspondent of a popular Sunday evening television show.
In a bid to embrace the northern farming community the blunt northern farmer and trainer of over 3,000 winners on the racecourse is to present a new weekly feature which will be seen by millions of viewers.
"I'm made up about it," commented Easterby, who celebrated his 87th birthday yesterday. "I've had to sign a contract saying I can't name the programme. Years back I was actually banned from live television interviews for a word I said on Channel 4, and now I've got the television people wanting to pay me to present a show! It's on Sunday nights, I don't think anyone will take long working out which one it is."
"They want me to wear a suit. Shirt, tie, the works. I can do the run through in me usual stuff but when they film for the show they insisted on a suit so I've had it down to Sketchley's, it's all pressed and smart and maybe I can do a bit of clothes advertising for Top Man or even Tesco".
"It took a while to sort out. I was first approached by a feller from an agency, they needed a gruff northern voice for a farmer in a kid's show about a postman. But it didn't work out because they had to keep bleeping out half the words, and after about twenty or so attempts we gave up. 'Takes' they call 'em in the business. Then I got this call about doing 'Farming News', well that was right up my street. They said I can talk about what I like, anything at all to do with farming."
"These telly people look after you though, they've given me a spit bucket to stand next to when I'm on camera. I'm allowed to swear once a show, so they've said to use it wisely. Only a mild one though, no real bad words."
"The whole thing's a try-out", continued Easterby. "If it goes well there's also a travel show being discussed where they film me on holiday and I say what I think of the place. I quite fancy a trip to Benidorm."
Easterby has always been a man to take every opportunity with both hands, and he even managed to sell a racehorse before filming started. The show's producer and main presenter, who asked to remain nameless, purchased a two year old filly and have named her 'Pool Flair' after the duo's love of the swimming.
"There's a down-side though" continued Easterby, "because they want to run the horse in pink with blooming yellow spots. The producer used to work on Saturday night telly with a puppet called Blobby or something and that's where the colours come from. But it's the owners that get the final say so I backed down and you'll be seeing the colours on the horse around and about September time".
'Farming News' will include a regular feature following the progress of the horse as she is prepared for her racecourse debut in the late summer.
"It's not the first time the the telly people have come knocking", Easterby remarked. "A couple of years back they were after me head lad Mark Cobb. He's a big lad, six and a half foot tall, and they wanted him to be the giant in Jack And The Beanstalk at York Opera House. He went to one rehearsal and I told him to get himself back here as I didn't want a pantomime in my yard as well as one in town. If they ever do 'Snow White' then I won't have anyone left to ride me horses."
'Farming News' will be aired for the first time on 15th April and after the water-shed on 16th April at 10pm the 'uncut' version, 'Easterby Unbridled' is shown without any edits or out-takes.
Posted: Sunday 01 April 2018
Rehearsal time, Easterby insists on his 'usual attire' until its time to film the polished version.
Easterby ready for filming his first edition of 'Farming News'.
The first instalment will include a feature on growing beans but the joke about the farmer with wind was cut from the show.
Head lad Mark Cobb. Recalled to the yard by Easterby after just one rehearsal of a York pantomime.