The Welsh stand-up comedian finally gets a proper job and tries out working on a farm. Can he really clean up in the cowshed or will the excrement hit the fan?
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I'm Rhod Gilbert, stand-up comedian.
People tell me I've got the toughest job in town
but I'm sure I'll find other things far more difficult.
So I'm ditching my regular job and trying something completely different.
This is my Work Experience.
This programme contains adult humour and some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
All I knew was I was going to a dairy farm so I needed to practise milking something.
Unfortunately the only thing I found to milk was my flatmate, comedian Lloyd Langford.
-That's the way Lloyd, you're doing well now.
-You need to warm your hands up.
-You need to warm your udders up.
You've lost your rhythm there.
I have lost my rhythm now. It's not as easy as it looks, farming.
I'm not an expert, but I don't think it should be coming out
of that part of the teat!
Look at that, our cup overfloweth, Lloyd.
Milking Lloyd with his rubber-glove udders gave me an invaluable insight
into the difficulties I would face working with real cows.
This is going to be pretty brutal. It's early mornings, it's manual labour.
Look at me, I've got hands like a snooker referee, not a farmer.
It's a million miles away from what I do.
The closest I've come to being a farmer is when
I do a gig in England and somebody does a sheep noise at me.
This is the farmyard and judging by the smell, I'm in the right place.
'The thought of being a farmer made me as happy as a crated veal calf.
'This pretty West Wales farm belonged to the Robinsons
'and would be my home for the next few days.'
-Hi, I'm Ginsey
-Hi, Rhod. I've been tiptoeing all the way here through the muck.
-Yeah, you need wellies.
'Luckily Ginsey was packing rubber - wellied up, we went to meet husband David.'
-You have a weather cow, that's unusual.
-I don't know how accurate it is.
-If the BBC can't get it right, I'm not sure a cow can do it.
You've met your wife, Ginsey?
'David had been farming all his life.
'For a few days I would be his poo-spattered apprentice.'
It's typical, you've turned up after all the morning work's been done.
-I'm very good at that. What am I going to have to do?
-Anything that's going.
-I've got a list.
-OK, what's a normal morning?
Milking, feeding the animals, bedding them down, clean the cows, feed the cows...
'David's day sounded like a shopping list of all my fantasies.
'I was too turned on to listen properly.
'Something about milking a sheep, feeding a log and bedding a tractor.
'One of the bulls recognised his late wife in my leather jacket,
'so I picked something from David's "Farmani" collection.'
I look like a slightly farmery version of the Red Devils.
You didn't pay me any attention in my London gear, now look at me!
Like one of the family, eh?
'As a trainee farmer, my benefits package included a head-turning company car.'
-Take a seat.
-The seat I can do, I know where the seat is.
Seat, steering wheel, after that I'm lost.
You have a key there that starts it.
You pull the red button to stop it.
You have a horn... Spool valve control there, a spitter box, PTO.
Deflock, two-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive, left hand PTO, it's now off.
The gears in the normal position is one, straight back you get three.
Normally where you get three in a car you've got two, go straight back and you've got reverse.
All fairly straightforward. Turn the key and it will start.
I'll level with you, I zoned out about four minutes ago.
Oh, we're racing now.
I can field the wind in my hair.
'I may have looked like a shit- stained Stig, but this wasn't Top Gear, this was the Tractor Factor.'
-You have to reverse it now through that gate.
What could possibly go wrong?
-Totally the wrong way.
Totally the wrong way.
Why is it going that way?
Why is it turning? I've got the bloody wheel straight.
-It's absolutely impossible, what ever I do that trailer goes where it wants to go.
I almost hit the car.
Whoa...no, don't do that!
He's been trying for about half-an-hour to get that trailer through this gateway.
I've had enough of this! Argh!
This is the one, it's a bit tight.
I know this isn't how you wanted it, but it's in. The bloody thing's in, you can't complain about that.
It's your trailer, David, there's something wrong with it.
-Take it back, I would, take it back. Have you got the receipt?
What sort of dung is this David? Not that it makes a great deal of difference to be honest with you.
When you've had one forkful of shit thrown in your face you've had them all!
This is the reality of a stable.
You never have some kid coming home going,
"You'll never guess who they've cast me as in the nativity play, Mother.
"They've given me this fork and I've got to shovel calf dung all the way through the performance".
'It might sound strange, given I was inhaling neat cow's urine, but a little bit of me was enjoying this.'
Come on! Never in the cesspit of human history has so much dung been shifted by so few.
I am the farmer, eat my dung.
'But just as I was starting to enjoy it, it all went a bit CSI Llandissilio -
'a neighbour's sheep had been attacked by dogs and David had been called in to deal with it.'
I'm going to quickly, as they say, put it out of its misery.
The sheep had been so badly mauled by the dogs
there was no chance of recovery.
-Is that it?
Yes, that's what the dogs have done to it.
-The dogs did that?
It's sort of...bringing me quite close to tears.
-The poor thing.
He just put that sheep to sleep and just to cheer us up we've come to have look at some piglets.
Ow! I just got bitten on the arse by a cow.
I tell you what, this is the highs and lows of farming in microcosm, isn't it?
We've just put a sheep to sleep and now look at these.
-So these pigs will be eaten - bacon, gammon?
-Sausages! Sausages! Sausages!
He is, he's saying it!
They're marvellous because they can eat the banana skins, apple cores, scraps.
-Never mind all these green bags with food waste, just stick it in a pig?
-Stick it through a pig.
-Oh, she's having a pee.
Get away piglets. Look at that!
They're too curious for their own good.
Get back, it's not the Trevi Fountain!
-When you've got to go...
-On the nose!
You've got to go when you got to go.
I know, but you don't have to go on your kids.
'Back at our farm I had to get over to the cowshed
'so David taught me how to tell a cow's arse from its elbow.'
Rhod, you're off to spread the straw, but when you walk past the cows,
give them a quick scratch as you walk by.
It lets them know you're there so they won't kick you.
If they don't know I'm there they won't kick out.
No logic in that, they wouldn't kick if they didn't think I was there.
Yes, but if you actually startle a cow she'll kick.
Basically I've got to make my way through this,
it's like some kind of... some kind of walk of death.
How do I get through here?
Scratch, scratch, scratch. Don't kick me, please.
This is what would happen if Harrison Ford was on Emmerdale.
They're closing ranks.
Come on, I'm supposed to be the farmer, I'm supposed to be in control of this situation.
This is and Animal Farm, get out of the way.
I've got to be very careful as well because
there's two ends to a cow, one of them you see on butter adverts.
And the other one's the one I'm worried about.
I'm not scratching you, look at the state of you.
Don't move. Relax.
My arms are absolutely on fire.
I hope you appreciate this.
Oi, I haven't finished with that!
Don't eat your bed.
'Evening and my biggest challenge so far, 50 milky space hoppers, one confined space.
'It was time to put everything I'd learned milking Lloyd into practice.'
It's quite scary being around them and you never know quite what's going to happen.
'If Lloyd had done that when I milked him, I'd have doubled his rent.'
Right, watch, Rhod. Left-hand just to let her know I'm there
and give each teat a good wipe.
Squeeze a bit of milk on the floor to see they're working properly.
Right, now your turn.
Clean, clean, clean - this feels so wrong!
I'm here, don't worry it's only me.
I don't like it.
Is it still working?
You're back left one's off. Put the back left one on, please.
-Right, now you have to put the cluster on.
-It's only me.
This is the cluster. Got to try and get this on to this cow.
-Get it on nice and quietly.
-Pop your little teat in there.
Have it back!
Yeah, all right.
Then you do the next one, and the next one, and the next one until they're all finished.
And stand back and let one in.
Right, going to let another one in.
They are enormous animals
and it is quite scary being near the back of them.
Go into slot two, please.
Oh no, not you. Oh no, not you.
-Stand back, stand back.
-Excuse me, would you mind?
-Oh no, not another one, no, no.
-Just be quiet.
-If you make too much noise they'll all start.
They started it, if they stop doing it I'll stop making a noise.
Argh! Get off!
-Now look what you've done.
I'll just conduct while these lot just...
MUSIC: "Infernal Gallop" by Offenbach
Instead of an orchestra and violinists and cellists,
I simply have cows' anuses and diarrhoea.
You can't blame her not wanting to come in.
If I was in the kitchen and my mother did that in the lounge, I wouldn't come in either.
'I regretted making so much noise -
'I think I'd rather go for a drink with Jeremy Kyle
'than muck this place out again.
'Luckily my next job was less traumatic.'
You must be yesterday's calf?
Hey, come on.
You're only a day old, you can't have an attitude.
Come on, it's nice. Come here.
-Enough of this.
-Straddle it, OK.
I'm not going to ride you.
'Even this little newborn dairy bull rumbled me. He wasn't born yesterday.
'Well, he was, but he could still tell I was no farmer.'
Make the most of it I won't be here... Oh, sorry, sorry. Sorry.
Just to comply with EU rules, this calf has to be tagged.
That's my herd number, and that's the calf number.
-Is this going to hurt her?
OK, OK, sh, there we are.
Come here. Come here.
But it really hurts if you catch your finger skin in there.
I don't care about you, David.
Hey, come here, come here.
Come here, 344. HE did it. Come here.
I was his mum for a few minutes, I fed him and then he got his ears pierced.
Like most kids, once they get their ears pierced they become stroppy teenagers
and want nothing to do with their parents. That's their gratitude.
You've changed. Come here, you're not David Bowie.
'I'd worked harder than a skunk's PR man today.
'Apparently the best way to unwind was by shooting a rabbit in the face.'
We've come out to shoot rabbits, if there's any around.
You want to go to Oxford Services.
-Lots there, are there?
-There's hundreds, just off the A40.
It's a bit too far to go tonight.
Yes, and they don't like it if you start shooting in the car park.
How many rabbits would you normally expect to get on a night like this, David?
You'd see a couple of little bright eyes there.
-Bright eyes burning like fire?
-No, they're sort of a greeny colour.
No, it's a song.
Bright eyes, they're a sort of greeny colour, isn't a very good song, to be honest David.
# Bright eyes... #
'Our pest control efforts were thwarted.
'The rabbits had all gone to bed early to do what rabbits do best.
'So we headed to the town's premier nightspot instead.'
This is a very calm place, isn't it?
This should be available as therapy on the NHS. Instead of whale music
and wind chimes relaxation CDs should be cows getting ready for bed.
Stick this on a DVD, A Cowshed At Night.
But you're only getting one dimension, half of the dimension is being there and feeling the cow.
-You only get half a dimension with the whale music as well, to be fair.
-You would drown if you were with them.
-All right, David, all right!
Sorry. You're always so pragmatic.
'Missing one dimension, we gave the cows a quick feel,
'read them a story and kissed the pretty ones good night.
'Next day I was literally lactating with excitement.
'When you've dreamt about to place this often, the reality can be a let-down,
'but Carmarthen cattle market was everything I'd imagined.
'Auctioneer John revealed all.'
Right, Rhod, the calf ring...
What's going on with all that shouting?
We'll go up there now, that's the sale ring.
'As the calves arrived, the crowd went wild. It was like Beatlemania.'
AUCTIONEER SPEAKS QUICKLY
Why is it that fast?
Basically you've got 450 or 500 cows to sell in a few hours,
-so they've got to get through them.
-He stressing me out just listening to him.
They're on the beef calves at the minute.
-Richard has valued that calf at £100.
-Careful, it looks like you're bidding there.
He won't take a bit of me, don't worry.
There's a massive variation in what the calves make.
The bottom will be £20 and the top will be £350.
That's a bargain, a calf for £20 - you couldn't knit it for that, John. Look at this white one.
That is a dairy beef calf. A dairy bull.
He's not a particularly good one.
-A dairy bull - so he's a boy with no nipples?
At £28, I suggest he'll probably end up in an abattoir in Chippenham tomorrow morning.
It turned out dairy was a sexist world where the boys were worthless.
Dairy bulls were destined to be dog food.
-Yeah, the fingers move.
-That's a bid, is it?
-There's a wink.
-Just a look occasionally.
-Just a look?
How do you know if somebody's looking at you or if they're just...
Let's have a look. There it is. There's the bid, there's the bid.
There's a guy up there, sort of, got his hands in his pockets,
rummaging around, or is he just over-excited by the calves?
Next up, we met Sandra, a sizzling Page 3 dairy stunner.
All about dairy character.
What's dairy character?
The...capability... No, not quite.
Yeah, to a degree, that's obviously where most of the milk is produced,
but you're looking for feminism and narrowness, effectively.
What are we looking for? An hour-glass cow, is it?
No, no, a V-shaped cow, effectively.
-Yeah, she needs to be narrow in the front, coming back to width behind,
which carries the milk production vessel, the udder, not the breasts, in town terms.
Right, Rhod, this is the dairy ring, where it all happens.
This is the rostrum.
-You have a stick in your hand.
-I know what you're going to say.
-You're going to have a go.
-I knew it.
You watch me have a go first and then, the last cow in the ring,
she'll be yours, and you can have a go selling her.
There was more dairy character on show than Hooters Nottingham.
Someone even stuck a tenner down this cow's top.
-A fit-looking cow.
-She's better, yeah.
-Good arse on it.
Good set of tumblers on it. Looks like Barbara Windsor in her heyday, that one.
Dribbling a bit, mind.
John said this one's a lot easier.
He said, "Don't worry, when we go to the dairy, it'll be a lot slower
than the meat sales."
SPEAKS INCREDIBLY RAPIDLY
He's into this.
Like that one? Look at that.
I'll probably end up with this one now. If I do end up with it, you buy it off me.
-Well, we'll milk it for you.
-I'll buy it, you milk it.
-Did you get it?
-What, you bought it? Did you?
Going to pick it up, are you?
He was chatting to me. I don't know how he managed to buy a cow and chat at the same time.
-Switch it on.
-Sorry, I haven't used one of these before.
We are bidding, ladies and gentlemen,
The cow is the black one down there, in the middle.
25 miles on the clock.
Who'll give me a pound?
Feast your eyes on those udders, ladies and gentlemen. Do I hear a pound?
A pound from the girls at the back.
Come on, where shall we go next? More than a pound. £1,000.
1,100, 1,100, any more than 1,100?
She says her interests are listening to music and going to the toilet.
She wants to work with children, eventually. She's a lovely cow.
Any more then? Did that baby bid or was it involuntary spasm?
What's he saying? 1,150? Are you sure he's got the cash?
Do I hear 1,200 from anyone? Going to the baby at the moment.
Go on, I'll throw in the man in the hat. The bloke comes with it.
Going once...going twice...sold! 1,700!
To the woman in the hat.
-Thank you very much.
It's the most terrifying gig I've ever done. Tough audience.
It is a buzz and it's exciting.
-It's better than...
-Better than sex?
Not quite. Well, it depends who you're with, obviously, but, yeah.
As an apprentice farmer, there was somewhere else I needed to go - the slaughterhouse.
Gareth showed me round. I was dreading it.
We just had a calf the day before yesterday.
I fed it yesterday. I'm hoping it's not coming here.
What sort of calf is it?
Black and white. It's about that high.
-Male or female?
Chances are, if it's a black and white male, it probably will end up in a place like this.
How long would you give him before he ends up here?
A week or 10 days.
Normally, putting a little hair net on like this,
I'd have a little comedy moment, but it doesn't feel appropriate.
The cows will be coming into this box and they'll be shooting them from that side of the box.
-How grim as it?
-It's the quickest way of putting a cow down.
I'll get you in position for the first one and you can see that one, what happens.
I don't think I can watch.
A bolt about that long enters the cow's brain and makes it brain dead.
It's thrashing about and still making a noise.
That's just nerves. It's the blood moving out of the body
and it's touching the nerves as it goes.
It's all over so quickly.
-Is that just nerves?
The animal was brain dead before it hit the floor in the stunning box.
Even now, I'm not put off having a steak because of that.
I probably won't have one today.
Every steak that you've ever eaten in your life has been produced like this.
It makes me a more thoughtful consumer of meat, a more knowledgeable one.
A lot of city kids think their steak comes from Tesco's.
They can't associate looking at a cow in a book or in a field and think,
-"That's where I get my steak from."
It's a wonderful tribute to that animal's life.
-It's in good condition, worked all its life and is providing us with food.
-A wonderful tribute.
I'm sure he'd rather have just had a quick ceremony and a disco after.
The abattoir was unsettling and I wanted to get straight back to the cows on the farm,
in happier circumstances.
(Right now, the whole farm is asleep.)
(I think he's still awake.)
(All is peaceful and quiet and it's a pretty sharp contrast to the last
(time I saw cattle today, literally being sawn in two with an electric saw and having their lungs out.)
(Nobody mention the abattoir.)
(I've already grown quite attached to the cows here.)
(You're all right now.)
(There's parts of this that I love, but it's bloody hard work.)
(It's also a real privilege to get this kind of insight
(and be this close to something that's so integral and so important to our way of life.)
(David's giving me more responsibility tomorrow. I'll be taking over half the milking shed.)
(The hardest thing for me is that I've got no idea what I'm doing.)
Come on, Rhod. Lots to do today.
My final farmer day was packed as tightly as a bull's boxer shorts.
But my talk of abattoirs last night had clearly upset the cows.
There was more poo in the yard than behind Paula Radcliffe's running machine.
Don't sit. Don't sit.
Don't sit in that!
You wake up, have breakfast, first job of the day is to scrape all the cow mess all the way out of this.
It's like the world's most disappointing ice-cream van.
Shit shovel coming through.
This is where my reversing skills are going to be properly tested.
That is not a backward flip you want to make.
-Keep going, keep going.
-Use this cutter thing now.
Next up, Breakfast At Shittany's...
Silage - cows'll eat it till the kids come home.
Come on, Molly.
There you are. What I want to do now is to try
and lift that massive, spiky claw thing on the front without coming up
with about seven cows skewered on the end of it, like some kind of horrendously ugly kebab.
It's the lesser of two evils. I'm either going to take the roof off
or we're going to squash about seven cows' heads flat.
-Oh, not that way.
Oh, not that way, either. Everyone relax.
-No cows in the way, no?
-More, more, more, more, more. Whoa!
Now the only danger is I flatten you with it. I'm not so worried about that, David.
I was doing so well on Tractor Factor that David decided to give me my own special set of wheels.
He called it...The Beast.
Nought to complete loser in six seconds.
I'd tamed The Beast and was getting on well with the cows.
It was finally time to try me out on the ultimate farming gadget.
David called it "a dog".
David said he's going to give us a sheepdog demonstration.
Basically, I see it more as a competition, really. Head to head, me and him.
What he doesn't know is I've watched Babe four times.
Walk! Come here.
I understand from watching Babe that every flock is different.
So what specific instructions do this lot answer to?
It's not the flock, it's the dog, because she's waiting for a command now. Two rising whistles for left.
-WHISTLES "BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP"
I've got a feeling your sheep dog's broken.
-No, no, no.
-It is, I think it's broken.
No. HE WHISTLES
You've got it going again. At least it's working again, that's the main thing.
Say "walk", see what that does.
Stand still! Just stand there.
Under no circumstances do anything whatsoever.
Respond to nothing. Walk!
Heel, come by, away to go.
Look at that.
I told her to ignore all that and she did.
It's working again. Hey, good girl, good girl.
Yes, look at that.
We're like a synchronised machine.
I could almost smell my farming wings. With my sexy boiler suit and the The Beast,
I was like a rural David Hasselhoff - ready for any emergency.
But while The Hoff rescued bikini-clad beauties,
I had some fence posts to deliver on another faulty trailer.
Go that way, go that way! Aargh!
I wish this was that tractor trailer.
This is what I'd be doing to it.
Take that, you trailer! Take that, you piece of trailer trash!
-Not bad, is it? I got angry with it.
OK. Ready for the next one?
Oh, shit the bed.
I think that's in.
-Probably good enough, that one.
-So if you grab the bucket and the hammer.
-Catch your breath back while you walk to the bucket.
David, a man about the farm.
Look at him, he's all practical knowledge and hands on and manual labour and knows what he's doing.
Look at me, I'm stuck in a bramble, trapped by my hat.
"Where's Rhod, David?"
"He's not coming in for tea. He's trapped in a bramble. His hat's got stuck."
Right, what's next?
My time as a farmer was nearly up.
I needed to keep calm cos, for my final challenge, I had to run half the milking shed that evening and
I was determined not to set the cows off.
I didn't want to muck out again.
In fact, I'd rather have to tell a bear with an upset stomach that the woods are closed for cleaning.
Cow number one, over there, please.
Where's... Somebody come over my side.
Quite calm at the moment. I don't want to make too much noise.
'There was the odd bottom malfunction, but it was considerably less explosive than last time.
'I was far more in tune with these dairy characters.'
It's not difficult to see how you build up a really close
bond with all of them and know them all individually and their personalities.
In truth, I was falling in love with farming.
On a practical level, I was about as well suited to it as Axl Rose, but I was going to miss this farm.
There was one little fellow I was going to miss more than anything.
Strange to be feeding him again,
having been to an abattoir. Do you want the good news?
You're going to be here for a while.
You're not going to be in dog food this week.
Really starting to get into farm life and enjoy it.
We've come a long way in two days, haven't we?
Hey, don't kick me in the nuts.
I'm going to call you Gareth.
You're named after the nice man in the abattoir.
If you do ever end up at the abattoir, there's no way he's going to kill another Gareth.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Wales's leading stand up comedian finally gets a proper job and goes from a comedy routine to working on a farm. Can he really clean up in the cowshed or will the excrement hit the fan?