It's Christmas, and Matt and Ellie are in the tiny Cornish fishing village of Coverack, helping the locals get the place set for the festivities.
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The unmistakable spirit of Christmas is everywhere.
Up and down the land, you can sense it in the air.
Coverack on the Cornish coast, where they do Christmas in a very big way.
It's all about lights, sparkle, and a massive, massive tree and,
well, looking at the state of me, you can see that
I've been heavily involved in this process.
You have. What a mess! But I'm going to be out and about, too,
doing my bit, but first, I have to master a rather delicate art.
John's at Truro's magnificent cathedral.
Christmas carols have always played a big part in Cornish life,
with people gathering in towns and villages right across the county
to sing their own local ones.
And it was here in this Cornish cathedral that
the most famous carol service of all was first heard.
Tom's in Hampshire, finding out how the folk there
are supporting their fishermen this Christmas.
Lobster pots might not be at the top of everybody's Christmas wish list,
but here, they're snapping them up.
Why could that possibly be?
I'll let you into that secret later.
And Adam is also in Cornwall, tucking into a farmhouse festive feast.
At least, he hopes he is!
I'm just a few miles down the road and I thought I was coming
here for some mulled wine and a few mince pies.
But there's no putting your feet up on this farm at Christmas,
because they're in the middle of lambing.
And these are just a few minutes old.
-Aren't they lovely?
-LAMB BLEATS SOFTLY
MUSIC: Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
# Rockin' around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party... #
Christmas has come to Cornwall.
In villages across the county, they're putting up trees,
hanging out the tinsel and switching on the lights.
We've come to the tiny fishing village of Coverack
on the Lizard Peninsula.
Even though the weather this year has been anything but Christmassy,
this place still captures the spirit of the season like few others.
Well, Christmas is a big deal here in Coverack.
It's one of their busiest times of the year.
And they light this place up like a beacon
to welcome people from far and wide.
# Deck the halls with boughs of holly... #
For more than 50 years, the tightly knit community of Coverack
have been decking out their village with lights and decorations.
And this year's set to be the biggest and best display yet,
thanks to months of planning and preparation
from the village's very own dedicated Christmas committee.
But there is one decoration that's missing,
and that's the tree to put this on top of.
And, as you can see by the size of this star,
it's going to be quite a big one.
Right, time to get down to business. Operation Spruce Up.
Find the perfect tree, chop it, transport it,
and decorate it by nightfall.
We're going to need the very best team the village can offer.
Raring to go?
If we come through there, and then through there,
-we won't damage any young trees.
AVENGERS-STYLE THEME MUSIC
Right, let's go and find a tractor, and we'll see what we can do.
With more than 30 years' experience under his belt,
Hugh is the chairman of Coverack's Christmas committee.
When I started, it was parents bringing their children.
And now, those children are now bringing in their children,
so we've got kind of three generations that come back
because the parents or grandparents came initially.
So, tradition is a big thing here, as is experience,
as far as the members are concerned
that are actually doing all of this today.
Yeah, you've got your core of experience - the ones that
initiated it originally have been doing it for the last
40-odd years or more, but a lot of the helpers are people that
moved into the village, and they come down to help.
It makes quite a social thing for them.
If they didn't participate in that, they might not necessarily meet up.
You seem like a tough lad, but is it the twinkle
of those fairy lights that just do it for you?
Oh, yes! Every time, yeah, yeah!
Time to get to the sharp end of this mission. It's over to Michael.
He's got the local knowledge. His family own this woodland.
Oh, cue the carols!
-There we are.
Bang on target, as well.
Well, there's a first time for everything, yeah.
That's the face of relief. THEY LAUGH
Your family's had quite a long connection
with the festivities, haven't they? Have you always offered a tree?
Well, it was happening before my time. And I think they...
40, 50 years - I don't know.
-They've always had a tree.
These trees are perfect because they've got to come out.
They're just nursing the young oak trees.
-All right, just acting as protection?
You've not got much between here and the Gulf of Mexico for the wind,
so these guys let the oaks get away until they can support themselves.
Phase one done. The tree is down.
Beautiful! I tell you what, too easy, that, weren't it? Was that too easy?
-This is the way to put your Christmas tree up, isn't it?
Get the tractors in!
'Load the getaway vehicle.'
Go on, six inches and you're there.
Now, we just need the driver.
Watch your heads!
Following in his dad's tyre tracks,
this is Ben's first year taking the tree down to the village.
-All right, you happy?
-Ready to go.
Have you got your route sorted? Because Michael is very worried about his fence posts!
I'll try not to scratch them on the way out.
But, I mean, this is the thing - it's quite tight
round these country lanes, isn't it?
Yeah, it's pretty tight. It's pretty tight.
It's... When we get down to the village is usually
the biggest problem, but depends how many posh cars are down there.
Oh, right. We'll see.
Posh cars don't like getting scratched in Cornwall,
and they tend to block the roads up.
So if I put a few scratches on them on the way down,
it might encourage them to move over a bit when on the roads!
-Well, listen, safe travels.
-No worries. We'll see you down there.
I'm sure he was only joking!
Anyway, the tree's in safe hands and on its way to the village.
# Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way. #
And later on, I'll be helping the merry folk of Coverack with
the next stage of their Christmas tree mission.
From dazzling decorations to colourful crackers,
mince pies to mulled wine...
..there are many features of Christmas that
get us in the mood for the festive season.
But there's one that's a particular favourite of mine.
And it doesn't come tied in a bow or wrapped up in tinsel.
This symbol of Christmas is more of a natural marvel.
The robin. The nation's favourite bird.
Our red-breasted friend has been connected with Christmas
since Victorian times.
It appeared on early Christmas cards
as a symbol of the red tunic-wearing postie
who would pop the card through your door.
These days, the sight of a robin still warms the heart at Christmas.
And with robins living in most British gardens, we can all
do our bit to help them and other birds in the cold winter months.
I've come to Frith Wood, near Stroud,
to meet Rosie Kelsall from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
-Oh, hi there.
-How you doing?
Good, thank you. Very well.
What Christmas shenanigans are we up to here?
Well, we're making Christmas wreaths
but with a bit of a twist, a bit of a difference.
I like the sound of that.
So, we're making them for wild birds, this time,
rather than for ourselves.
Great. Let me give you a hand with some snipping.
-So we've got holly and some yew?
-That's right. Just little pieces.
And there's a few red berries in there, which is extra food, to boot.
Love a make and do!
-And here we are. Everything's here.
-It's all ready.
-OK, put me to work.
Right, first thing we need is one of these. This is our wreath.
It's just made from willow which we just twist around.
Any really bendy sort of stem will do.
The thing to start off with is mixing up some of the lard
with some of the seed. So we've got dried fruit.
We've got sultanas. Pop a handful of mixed seed in as well.
-Grab a load of that.
-That's it, give it a good squelch up.
-You might need to get your hands in there.
-Oh, do I have to?!
The lard helps bind the mix together,
which will be stuck into pine cones for the birds to peck at.
We're using wire just to attach them onto the willow but in fact you
could do it with just string, would probably do the job just as well.
It's a messy job but treats like these will keep
all sorts of garden birds well fed, from tits to finches.
-That looks perfect.
-It's quite attractive in itself, isn't it?
If you ignore the fact it's lard.
Everything for these wild bird wreaths can be found
in a garden centre, a nearby park or maybe your own garden.
Go on. It's good to do your bit.
Is this the sort of thing you do at the trust, this time of year?
We have a campaign called My Wild Christmas
and it's all about thinking about not just what we're eating and
drinking and consuming at Christmas, but the wider picture as well.
So, what we can do for wildlife,
what we can do out in our gardens and also what we do with the things
we have at Christmas, so recycling after Christmas, and so on.
Yeah, trying to be conscious rather than tinselled out of our brains.
-I think that looks fantastic.
-I know just the lady who can make use of it.
-Excellent. That's good.
Pat Lowe is one of the many people who care for the wildlife
that visits their gardens, and she's struck up a special friendship
with one particular visitor.
Yup, a robin.
-Hello, Ellie, how are you?
I'm good. I've brought you a gift.
-Thank you very much. Bob will love that.
Is that what you call your robin?
-Bob the robin.
-Oh, my goodness! He's here in the kitchen!
-Oh, he comes in.
He comes in umpteen times a day. And he comes when he's called.
Don't you, Bob? You're such a good boy.
You can call him in?
Yes. He comes and looks in the window over there,
-and that's the sign that he wants to come in.
He stays with me quite a lot of the day.
I see there's lots of robin paraphernalia in here.
You've got a lovely jumper.
We've got some robin tea. Look, robin everything.
He's perfectly happy in here,
and he's not at all fazed by people, as you can see.
Bob's more than just a fun visitor. He's become a companion.
How important has it been, having Bob here?
Oh, very important. I've had quite a testing time nursing my husband.
He was awfully ill this time last year
and Bob came in and was a great comfort to me then.
Sadly, Pat's husband, Richard, passed away this summer.
It's lovely having that continuity of Bob over that time,
such a challenging period for you.
Yes, it was, very. He lifts me up, right up.
Bob also has a secret seasonal passion.
-He loves the Christmas carols.
So, this time last year, I recorded him singing along to The First Noel.
-Would you like to hear it?
-Yeah! Love to, yeah.
ROBIN TRILLS ALONG TO CAROL
He's not at all fazed by the loudness of the accompaniment.
That's amazing! What a Christmassy scene!
How much fun, singing with full gusto, the descant, the harmonies.
-Robins will defend their territories all year round.
They're one of the few birds that do.
And in the summer, there'll be a pair.
In the winter, just an individual.
-And he's clearly got territory worth defending here.
His own food supply all the winter. That's not bad, is it?
Time to get the wreath up and, in the true spirit of goodwill,
we're going to put it where all the birds can enjoy it.
What about that?
There we go. He's one lucky robin.
Well, a merry Christmas to Bob.
Yes, and merry Christmas to you, too.
-And a very merry Christmas to you.
Now, all across the land,
communities are gearing up for Christmas.
Tom's visiting one that is making
an extra-special seasonal effort for those out at sea.
The town of Emsworth sits on the shore
of Chichester Harbour in Hampshire.
It once had a thriving fishing community
with generations of families making a living from the sea.
But today just two fishermen are trying to make
a living from these waters and,
with quotas severely restricting what they are allowed to catch,
rather than the season to be jolly, it could well be a bleak midwinter.
Pete Williams is one of Emsworth's two remaining fishermen.
For the last eight years he's been battling the elements for a living.
There's a real technique to getting these out.
Yeah, you've got to try and take them out forwards.
Got to try and take the meshes away from round their mouths,
and bring them free.
Fishing is a tough job all the year.
-But what's it like in the winter, especially?
-It's a tough job.
It's a tough job all year, like you say,
but in the winter, it's particularly tough because, obviously,
the weather dictates whether we can get out or whether we can't get out.
Obviously, we have to sort of fish between weather windows
and it could mean that I maybe only get eight days of the month where
I actually get out to sea.
For Pete, like his fellow fishermen, strict quotas on catches
can make it hard to make ends meet at the best of times.
But last year, their fishing was dealt another devastating blow.
Storms destroyed their stock of lobster pots,
cutting off a vital source of income.
I lost 300 pots, all the ropes, the end weights. Basically,
my entire potting effort within the fishery was destroyed overnight.
But, back onshore,
his neighbours are doing something to replace those lost pots.
This festive season, the town of Emsworth is rallying round
its fishing community by creating a rather unusual Christmas tree.
-How are you?
I'm fine, thank you. But I've never seen one of these before.
What am I looking at?
-It's a community lobster pot Christmas tree.
-OK. What can I do?
Give me a bit of guidance on how it works.
Take some of the smaller parts of the greenery. We're going to try
and fill the gaps
between any of the lobster pots.
Where did you get the idea for this?
From me. I've always wanted to build a lobster pot Christmas tree.
We've seen a few in America,
and I never thought we'd be able to do the idea.
Alistair here came up to me and said, "I've had an awesome idea."
And everyone else shook their heads. And I said, "Well, what is it?"
And he said, "I want to build a lobster pot Christmas tree."
-So, you're to blame, Alistair? I see.
-It's my fault!
And I said, "Right, OK."
The biggest problem was the fishermen here last February
lost their pots in the storms, so we came up with the idea that,
let's ask the community.
So we went out and asked them and said, "We need to get
"so many pots to build a tree," and the offers came flooding in.
Every pot you see here has been bought by a member of the community
and they will be used to fish with
by two of the local fishers here in Emsworth
and once they start catching lobsters, the first lobster that
goes in each pot will be given back to the person who's bought the pot.
So they will get the first lobster from the pot, will they?
The first lobster that goes in the pot, they'll receive.
I'm not sure how I'm doing. You'll probably want to unpick
-all the bits that I did.
-No, it's amazing!
What do you think of the tree?
-It's really good.
-Yeah? Why do you like it?
because it's all decorated.
It is, thanks to you. You and your mum doing a great job.
I did a bit of decorating.
I'm not sure if your mum thought it was very good, actually.
To help get the decorations finished,
even local firefighters are lending a hand.
Well, the decorations are well under way,
thanks to some help from my rather unusually dressed elves here,
but every tree needs something to crown it off, and given that this is
fish-themed, what do you think? A starfish, maybe?
No, we've gone for a lob-star!
Looks good to me. You happy with that?
-Yeah, it's fantastic.
-I think it's ready for the big unveiling tomorrow.
MUSIC: Fairytale of New York by the Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
It's the night of the grand unveiling.
The community is out in force and there's Christmas cheer in the air.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
So, what do you make of this evening?
I think it's excellent.
It's great, you know, to support our local fishing community.
Why did you decide to buy a pot?
It was a fantastic and fun way to support the local fishermen
and hopefully get a lobster!
It is really heart-warming to see how this quirky new idea
has inspired the community.
How many pots did you buy in total?
-I think I bought three.
How many are there in total, do you know?
I think there are 30 or 40 up there in total, something like that.
And you're looking forward to seeing it lit up?
Definitely. Can't wait.
-Six, five, four,
three, two, one.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
Did you ever imagine it would turn out like this?
-No, not at all.
-Not at all. It has gone together so well.
The tree looks amazing, everyone's come and supported us.
Everyone's come to support the event. It's brilliant.
It's really good, it's really heart-warming.
It's much more than just a tower of pots in the end, isn't it?
Absolutely. It's amazing.
I mean, you know, we spend a long time, like you've seen,
out on the boat, on my own, don't really see people,
but, yet, people know what you're doing and they appreciate it,
and it's really nice to know that.
Next year, we need a bigger tree as well!
Fishing is pretty tough all year round,
and it would be easy to feel very alone out there on the high seas,
so a moment like this with the community gathering all around you
and showing how much they care -
that really is the season of goodwill.
# Once in royal David's city... #
Just up the coast from Coverack, John's in Truro,
telling us how the most famous carol service of all
has its roots firmly in the Cornish countryside.
# Where a mother laid her baby... #
For many people, me included, the sound of a lone young chorister
really heralds the start of Christmas.
For decades, millions of people across the globe have been
tuning in, every Christmas Eve, to hear the festival
of nine lessons and carols from King's College, Cambridge.
But it wasn't Cambridge where it all began. It was down here in Cornwall.
Truro Cathedral is where the festival has its origins.
The cathedral may look ancient, but building only began in 1880.
On Christmas Eve that same year, the first
nine lessons and carols service
was held in an old wooden hut.
Christopher Gray is Truro Cathedral's Director of Music.
-So it all started, then, in a wooden shed.
It did. A really humble beginning for the service, which was
devised by our first Bishop of Truro, Bishop Benson, in 1880.
And why did he do it?
Why did Bishop Benson decide to hold this new service?
Lots of reasons that all came together,
but I think primarily to do something really special
for the community that was experiencing
a certain amount of pain, having had its parish church demolished
to make way for this big, new cathedral.
And did it work?
Well, we know that about 400 people crammed into the wooden shed,
so it was popular, and it did work.
And that hand of friendship was obviously received.
And do we know what the order of service was, back in 1880?
I'm glad you asked that.
We happen to have not only the order of service,
but we have Benson's copy of the order of service, just here.
Benson didn't invent the carol service,
he invented this particular way of telling the Christmas story.
And that way was to combine carols with lessons, or readings,
telling the Nativity story.
And, at the time that Bishop Benson was
inventing his festival of nine lessons and carols, there was
quite a resurgence going on, wasn't there,
of folk carols and traditional carols?
Yes, not only was there a carol revival in the 19th century,
but it has a lot of its roots here in Cornwall
and there's a particular figure who was important in that revival,
and he published a collection of Christmas carols in 1822,
which he'd collected from the West Country,
so Benson was sort of tapping into something which was a very current
thing in Cornwall, this revival of carols.
He saw people enjoying singing carols in a folk setting,
in communities and pubs, and he was bringing that into the church.
So it was a Cornishman, Davies Gilbert,
who reinvigorated our passion for carol singing almost 200 years
ago, and he started by collecting the songs
from towns and villages all over the county.
The people he met would sing what they call "curls",
Cornish carols, a tradition that's still going strong today.
# The saviour promised long
# The saviour promised long
# The saviour promised long... #
To find out more, I'm meeting Cornwall's famous singing group,
the Fishermen's Friends, in their home village of Port Isaac.
John Cleave is a founder member and, not surprisingly,
an enthusiastic ambassador for Cornish singing.
-Well, that's a lovely curl, John.
-You enjoyed that?
-I really did.
-That's good, yeah.
-What's the story behind it?
Well, it's an old Cornish carol
and particularly popular in Port Isaac, that one.
That's our own sort of arrangement of it. So, yeah, we love that one.
Hearty, glad sound.
You're keeping alive now the tradition of folk music here.
Yeah, it sort of combines with the carol tradition, as well.
You know, the old Cornish tradition is to stand in a circle
and strike sound, and that's what we try and do.
That's a lovely phrase, "strike sound".
It don't always sound brilliant, but there, we do our best.
So, do you still go around the villages at Christmas time
-singing the carols?
-Yeah, we do.
We did one at a local cider farm last Christmas,
which was interesting.
On Christmas Eve we all go and sing down in our local pub.
We get all our youngsters come and join in as well,
so it's an ongoing tradition, really.
And they've agreed to let me
join in the Cornish version of the much-loved While Shepherds Watched.
Hello. Can I be an honorary member? Briefly? Is that all right?
And just how different is your version of While Shepherds,
-from the one I know?
-It's probably a little more fiddly
and there's a lot more twiddly bits in it, so, you have to try
and pick it up as you go along, but it's not too difficult.
-Same words, obviously.
-Right, OK, let's go.
ALL: # While shepherds watched their flocks by night
# All seated on the ground
# All seated on the ground
# The angel of the Lord came down
-# And glory shone around
-And glory shone around
-# And glory shone around
-And glory shone around... #
And if you enjoy a carol at Christmas,
it may well have its musical roots in Cornwall.
# You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry
# Better not pout, I'm telling you why
# Santa Claus is coming to town. #
Well, the gang's living up to its reputation.
The Christmas tree's down and, after a safe trip,
it's made it to Coverack.
The tree has got this far and, Ben, so far, so very good!
It's a professional job here, Matt. I tell you. You wait!
And Ben is not kidding.
This is like a well-oiled machine.
They slide the tree down the bank...
Top it with a star...
OK? Tie that on, there you go.
Feels like there's a bit of history behind this star.
Yes, it's, erm...
Well, it's the first star we had about 40-odd years ago.
-45 years ago.
..and then it's carefully positioned
and wedged into the village's very own Christmas tree hole.
-How are things? You must be Liz.
The infamous Liz. My word.
I thought you might like something to keep your strength up.
Liz is well-known in Coverack.
And when she makes mince pies like this, it's no wonder.
Oh, my word. These are just beautiful!
So, your family connection, I'm sure, goes way back with this...
-With this tree as well?
-From the beginning.
-From the very beginning?
And how did it come about, then?
Well, a lot of the young men got together
and decided that it would be nice if we had a tree.
And then we decided that the surplus money,
if we made any, would go to the children's home in Halstead.
What a wonderful idea.
And what a day this is, you know, to see it all happen.
-Yes, everybody works so, so hard. It's lovely.
-No, it is.
Listen, let me help you, and hand these out.
-Beautiful. A lovely job.
-It just is wonderful. What a great...
Honestly, I'm having a great day!
There we are. Thank you very much.
Don't forget the cream!
'Mince pie break over, it's time to get my harness on.
'This tree's not going to decorate itself.
'First, a few instructions from the lighting gaffer.'
-Cable tie the light on to the top.
-Pull it up with the rope.
I've said that the wrong way round, haven't I?
-I was going to say, "What are you talking about?"
'But don't worry - Bob does know what he's doing.
'He's been tinkering with the twinkling Christmas lights
'of the village for the last 25 years.'
So, how many more lights have we got here?
Cos we've got to go round the other side as well, have we?
Well, we've got about 25 lengths of 200 bulbs on each length,
-so, that's about 5,000 on the tree.
But through the village we've got nine strings, 100 metres long.
And then we've got 12 bulbed features,
eight or nine rope light features, so, in total,
we've probably got about 25,000 bulbs, if you count the rope lights.
Thankfully, the majority of those bulbs are already up.
And with everyone working together,
it's not long until we've got the tree lights ready, too.
Despite the terrible weather.
Well, do you know what?
I was going to say there's a bit of a nip in the air at the moment.
But this is nothing in comparison to what happens here on Christmas Day.
-And, Ian, I mean, you were a doctor.
-This was... Was this your idea?
This mass swim?
I was at a cocktail party with the captain of the lifeboat
on Christmas Day.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, looked lovely.
And I stupidly said, "Be lovely for a swim today."
And somebody said, "How much would it take to get you to go in?"
So, I said, "I'll jump in the harbour at half past 12 -
"give me 10 quid." But, by that time,
several people had come down, so I couldn't keep the money myself.
-So, we donated to Cancer Research, and that's how it started.
-You do all of this for such a great cause.
Two years ago it was £8,000, and on top of that there's the people
-that get sponsorship through JustGiving.
-It's just amazing.
People are very generous.
-Do you wear wet suits? ALL:
Oh, hang on! Hang on.
Something that's fancy dress style.
What were you last year?
Er, I wore a fur onesie.
The mind boggles at what the locals will turn up in this year.
So, with the tree almost trimmed and dusk drawing near,
we're getting ever closer to the big switch on.
And, later on, we'll be seeing
Coverack's Christmas display in all of its glory.
-We've had wreathes and robins,
and one giant-sized tree.
Now, here's Sean - and he's feeling peckish.
Time now for a spot of Christmas lunch, I think.
But what do you have when you've had enough of turkey?
I can't wait to find out, because I've come to Padstow
where king of the fish dish Rick Stein
has a new take on Christmas dinner.
-Hey, Mark. Are you all right?
-Can I grab some hake?
-Jack here oversees all of Rick's restaurants.
He not only calls Rick "boss", but "Dad".
And, together, they're putting a twist on traditional festive fare.
Rick, what's on the menu?
This is possibly the best fish that Cornwall has to offer,
certainly this time of year.
It's quite a big thing in Cornwall,
cos they have this special hake market at Newlyn Fish Market.
But more and more Cornish people are eating hake - particularly us.
I mean, it's one of my favourite fish. Member of the cod family.
But I think it's the best flavoured.
It's got this lovely soft texture.
It's a great Cornish product.
-You're going to like it.
-I hope so.
I don't like the way he's looking at me!
He looks a bit like an eel that might just be about to bite you!
Jack, it's your recipe, I understand?
Yes, Dad phoned me from the Newlyn Market at Christmas and said,
"I need a winter salad with hake...by tomorrow."
Which is not...
Normally the development of recipes takes months, and I had 24 hours.
So, it was quite a frantic few minutes.
But it looks so Christmassy.
When you see it later on,
it looks like a wreath with lots of reds and greens. It's beautiful.
Wow! Looking forward to that. You've got the fish. Shall I get the veg?
Yeah, if you pop up to see Ross, I'm sure he'll sort you out.
-Brilliant. Excellent. See you later.
My parents used to rear turkeys on our smallholding when I was a kid,
so turkey at Christmas was a given.
But I'm really excited by what Jack and Rick have got planned
for the hake.
With three acres overlooking the Camel Estuary,
Ross Geach is the go-to guy when it comes to unusual veg.
-Ross, how are you doing? You all right?
Tell me about this weird and wonderful veg.
So, this is a flower sprout.
It's a, er, new type of vegetable.
They've used traditional breeding methods to cross their kale
with a Brussels sprout, so you can see it's got the same growth
as a Brussels sprout, but instead of little tight head round sprouts,
it's got these beautiful open kale-like things.
They're sweet, they're a lot... They're a lot nuttier.
Ross's family have farmed this land for six generations.
And his veg makes its way onto many a top chef's menu,
including the Stein family.
In fact, he used to be one of Rick's head chefs.
I don't remember seeing stuff like this on my Christmas dinner plate
when I was a kid, but I suppose veg goes in phases, doesn't it?
Yeah, it changes in fashion all the time.
I've got chefs ringing me up and they say, you know,
"What are you going to grow next year
"that the other people won't have on their menus?"
So, the guys that developed the flower sprout
are already on the next veg.
You know, it's very top-secret, kind of locked away in a safe.
They don't give me too much information.
A bit of cavolo nero - or black kale -
and that's the veg sorted.
Back at Rick's, it's time for the main event.
Rick, I must say, our hake looks a little bit more attractive
without his head.
-What's it like in the Stein household on Christmas Day?
Well, we do always have fish.
We have turkey, or more usually, goose,
but we always have a little starter of fish,
and this is one of the things that we have.
So what's the secret to cooking good fish?
Simple. Keep it simple.
To cook it for a long time on that side,
on the skin side, so it just sort of almost crisps up.
It does crisp up the skin, and by the time that is crisp,
it's virtually cooked through, and then you just flip it over,
and cook the other side quickly, and it's done.
Does that not need to be really hot?
It should be a bit hotter than that,
but, hey, this is TV - I didn't turn it on quick enough.
Jack's got some beetroot bubbling in mulled spice liquor.
Once blitzed, this will dress the hake and Christmassy salad.
-Jack, give me something to do.
-I've got some cavolo nero here,
so if you just want to chop it nice and fine, like a coleslaw.
This is your recipe.
Yeah, I just took my inspiration from a big wreath,
you know, a holly wreath? So I tried to get some of those kind of...
So the dark greens here, the reds.
It's one of those dishes that's great for
kitchen garden and restaurant relationship,
cos you can put anything in there, you know,
and it's great cos I like spending time at a farm,
cos when we were younger, Dad said he was going to buy a farm
and he never did, so now I go up there and pretend -
it's like my proxy farm.
I won't tell Ross that.
Don't tell Ross that, no, yeah.
-How's that fish looking, Rick?
-It looks lovely.
Cooking the hake skin down helps hold it together,
and yes, that's greaseproof paper in the pan.
Actually, this is quite a good tip, we tend to -
particularly with slightly wet fish like hake -
we cook it on greaseproof and it stops it sticking.
It has to be a really good quality greaseproof,
and when you're frying fish like this, don't do it too hot.
The flower sprouts and some beetroot shoots go into the salad...
..topped with the hake...
..a drizzle of the mulled beetroot dressing...
'..and there it is.'
Wow, that looks amazing.
'The colours of Christmas and the taste of Cornwall.'
Let's have a look at this, then.
-It melts in your mouth, doesn't it?
I may just be a convert, you know?
I may just be "fish at Christmas".
It's very earthy, actually.
-I mean it... I mean that...
-In a good way?
I knew you were going to say that.
Is that a compliment?
You know what? It's really nice, it's crunchy,
it feels like, you know, we've just picked it.
'Created by Jack, grown by Ross, cooked to perfection by Rick.'
This is great but who's doing the washing-up?
No, come on, I... Sean and I have been out
harvesting all the veg in the wind,
and all you've had to do is cook a little bit of fish.
And you didn't cook the fish - your dad cooked the fish.
Whilst Sean waits for dessert, Adam's a few miles inland,
on a farm where Christmas is the busiest time of year.
Being as far south as you can get in the UK,
Cornwall is generally blessed with milder winters,
and that means that Cornish farmers have the advantage
of an early growing season,
and I've come down to a farm near Wadebridge
to find out what the festive season has in store for them.
'Andrew Hawkey's family have been farming here
'for the past 100 years.'
A beautiful Cornish day, isn't it, Andrew?
Oh, it's always like this in Cornwall, Adam.
Every day's the same.
-And the grass looks like it's still growing.
-I know, this is lovely.
It's been a nice autumn for all the farmers, I think.
All the farmers in the country would say that they've had a nice autumn,
but particularly here.
I mean, I can't believe, really, it's still as green as what it is.
So, I see you've got some lovely tups here.
My tups at home, the rams, have just come out from the ewes.
How does it work for you down here?
Well, our tups did their work in June, so they're resting now,
sitting back, waiting for Christmas,
so it means that we're lambing now.
Goodness me, lambing over Christmas.
Yeah, we start in the middle of November, till Christmas.
So where are the ewes? Can I see them?
Yeah, they're all in the shed, so we can go indoors and see them.
Even though it feels more like spring today,
Andrew's keeping his sheep indoors, just in case.
-This is Oliver, one of my sons.
-He's the shepherd.
-You've got your hands full, there,
-because this one's got four, has she?
-Yeah, she has, yeah,
so just feeding them with a bottle.
She can hardly look after the four herself, so we're just
-topping one or two up with a bottle.
And why do you choose the Poll Dorset?
Poll Dorsets, they lamb out of season.
We get the early market, then, for all the lambs.
We start sending the lambs in, end of March, April time.
Yeah, so, usually when I'm in the middle of lambing at home,
-your lambs are fit and ready to go to market.
-Yeah, pretty much.
You're ahead of the times, you Cornish boys, aren't you?
I wouldn't like to say.
And do you mind lambing over Christmas time?
No, it's not too bad. November's fairly quiet for us, so you know,
at that time of the year,
but when it does get to Christmas and Christmas Day, yeah,
there's a few looks and that,
when we've got to go out lambing and that.
It's not so good, yeah.
So will these ewes and lambs stay inside, then, stay in the sheds?
We keep them in for two or three days,
depending on the weather, and then they're straight out,
-fields, and on the nice grass we've got.
-Out into the grass?
-Have you got some to turn out today?
-Yeah, we have.
We've got some marked up
-so you can come and give us a hand, if you want.
Hey. Come on.
I'll get the other two.
OK, lovely job.
There we are, here's yours.
Well, there's a nice bit of grass out here for them, isn't there?
What's with these things?
Yeah, well, that's our solar panels,
to produce a bit of our own electric,
and yeah, we put a few young lambs in here for a few days.
If it's getting cold and that, they can shelter under the panels,
and they love it in there. It keeps them dry.
It's brilliant, isn't it?
-So despite it being winter, you've got shelter for them.
A lot of people think about solar panels
and assume that it's taking agricultural land out of use,
but actually, here, you've still got the sheep in the field.
Yeah, you can see we are grazing it all. Yes, grass everywhere,
so yeah, it's being used pretty much 100%.
How did it all come about, the whole solar panel system, for you, then?
That's my brother's department
so you'd better speak to him about that.
OK, you just stick to the sheep.
Yeah, that's right, I'll stick to the sheep.
'Sean Hawkey spent five years in the Army,
'before returning home to Cornwall.
'Whilst brother Oliver manages the farming side,
'Sean's in charge of finding new schemes
'to help make the farm profitable.'
So, we're always looking for ways to diversify the farm,
so any little business we can find,
and we're ideally positioned here in North Cornwall.
We get loads of sunlight, so that gave us the opportunity
to install these solar panels.
We're generating all our own electricity,
which just helps reduce our energy bills in the winter.
Still generating today, so we are getting a little bit of income,
a little bit of power that we can use.
So, a nice little energy business,
but how much power do you need on the farm?
So, the farm doesn't use quite so much.
We've got a small array that looks after all the farm buildings,
but this array powers all the cottages we've got.
How many holiday cottages have you got?
-We've got 30 cottages on the farm.
-Busy over Christmas?
Very busy over Christmas, yeah. We're always full over Christmas,
so we have lots of families in,
-to help with the lambing and such, yeah.
'Being so busy at Christmas brings in cash
'at an otherwise quiet time of year.
'It's a profitable side to the family business.
'The Hawkeys began long before most,
'converting old barns to holiday lets way back in the 1970s.
'Whilst many farmers were knocking down their old buildings,
'the Hawkeys recognised that it paid to keep them standing.'
So, this was the old farmyard, was it?
Yeah, these were the old barns here,
higher and lower stable, and as you came down here,
this was like the old yard here, yeah.
It's lovely, isn't it?
'The holiday lets are a full-time commitment,
'so along with the general farming duties and the lambing,
'Christmas for the Hawkeys is always extremely busy...
'..but that doesn't mean they don't celebrate like the rest of us.'
Oh, look at this, a family Christmas tea.
-Happy Christmas, everybody.
-Happy Christmas, Adam!
-You're just in time.
-Look at all this.
'Mum Janice has laid on a fantastic festive spread.'
-One, two, three, go!
-THEY CHEER AND LAUGH
-Would you like a mince pie?
-I'd love one, thank you.
-And some cream with it?
-Oh, no, I shouldn't, really.
Oh, come on, you can't have a mince pie in Cornwall
-without any cream.
-Oh, go on, then.
Look at this.
It's great you're making so much of everything you've got,
and you're feeding three families,
but are you a farmer now or something else?
I'm a farmer, but perhaps I like to farm the tourists as well.
I like to see the people around.
They've been coming here for a long time so we've got very used to it.
Oliver, there's a lot going on in the farm with the diversification
but you're into the practical side of farming.
Sean can stick to the cottages and do that -
I just like to be out with the animals.
It's a good balance between the two of you, I suppose.
Yeah, we help each other out if we need to, but apart from that, yeah.
-With Dad meddling or overseeing?
Yeah, he gets in the way, yeah, most of the time.
Gets in the way?
Every morning in the yard...
But a farmer's work is never done, and it's back out to
the stable-cum-sheep shed to check for any arrivals,
and if you're looking for a real lamb and a shepherd to
grace your Christmas Nativity scene,
-Cornwall is the place to come.
Time for one last check of those sheep.
OK. Come on, little lamb. I'll hold her head for you.
So, lambs come out two front feet and nose first,
and it's in the correct position, is it?
-Yup, it's all coming out right, yeah.
-So are you going to help her lamb?
-So we just give it a little pull.
It should come out fairly easy.
So it just goes in a downward arc.
Clean his nose off. Get any fluid away from his nose.
-Is it OK? Is it breathing?
-Yeah, yeah, all good.
Give him to his mum for her to lick off. There we go.
There we go, Mum. Yeah, a little baby for you.
Well, there's no peace on the farm
-for you at Christmas time, is there?
It's all go.
Oh, it's just lovely to see new life at this time of year.
-Happy Christmas, Mrs.
-It's Christmas and we're in Cornwall.
Matt's been getting stuck in
helping the villagers of Coverack choose a tree,
and getting it ready for the big switch-on later.
'He's not the only one with Christmas decorations on his mind.
'I've come to Penryn to visit local glass artist Malcolm Sutcliffe.'
-Hi, Malcolm. Good to meet you.
-Hi, Ellie. Pleased to meet you.
-Do you want to come down to the studio?
-Yeah, I'll take a look.
At this time of year, there's only one thing Malcolm is making,
and it's something no well-dressed tree goes without - baubles.
These are so different. They're real crackers.
These are my Christmas baubles.
Yeah, real beauties.
-Do you fancy having a go at making one of these?
-Yeah, I'd love to.
That's a great one there.
So this'll remind you of the Cornish sea.
Before I get stuck in, Malcolm's going to show me how it's done.
So, this furnace is at 1,050 degrees centigrade.
Oh, I can feel the heat from here. I'm going to get out your way.
Then I'm going to roll it through some powdered white glass.
Oh, right. These colours are absolutely fabulous.
-I've probably got about 15, 20 colours I use...
..in different grain sizes and powders, granules...
And then to make the different patterns,
-you have to layer the colours differently?
-That's right, yeah.
How many of these do you think you make a year?
-We probably make about 500 or 600 a year.
We sort of start in October
and work right up till Christmas, making baubles.
I'm just going to take this over to the glass-making chair now.
-I need to move out of the way.
I'm going to do a little dance around you. There we go.
And now I've heated that up,
I'm just going to use this bent screwdriver,
and I'm just going to hook that
-up towards the top there.
-That's for the... To bring the pattern up?
-To bring the pattern up.
Malcolm makes it look easy but there's a lot to learn.
-So, these are made out of cherry wood.
-Why cherry wood?
It's... Well, any sort of fruit wood seems to...
It doesn't seem to burn too quickly.
It smells amazing. I love it.
-Lovely shape now.
-OK, like that.
Is that not going to drop off and break?
Hopefully, no. We'll just...
-Tap that off.
-Oh, gently does it.
Does it get you in the festive mood, making baubles?
Oh, it does, definitely, yeah.
And just roll it round like that...
-To make that perfect hook.
-..and that forms a little hook.
If we let that cool down naturally, it would just be cracked...
-Oh, I see.
-..so we need to pop it in the annealing oven here,
and it'll stay in there all day long.
-You think you have a go at that?
-No, I really don't.
MUSIC: Jingle Bells
OK, let's see if I can do this.
Roll it through the white.
-Oops, I've got rather a lot on there.
-It doesn't matter.
-Is that enough?
-Yeah, that's fine,
-and then into the glory hole, nice and slowly.
-It really is so fluid, isn't it?
-Trying to do a consistent turn is quite hard as well.
-It is, yes.
-Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.
-That's plenty, there.
In the chair...
It's such a strange consistency.
It's not like anything I've ever worked with before.
It's sort of toffee-like.
-That's it, yeah.
And then squidge. Now, that is a nice feeling.
It's a funny shape already.
Bring it out and then hang it straight down,
and then just give it a little gentle swing.
Swing it, sister!
-Oh, that is satisfying.
-And then you just roll it down.
Oh, it smells amazing.
Keep going. Keep going.
-I'm going to burst a vessel.
-Right, let's have a little look-see.
-Is that even going?
-I'm not quite sure.
-I don't even think it's gone.
Let's have a look.
Really gently. That's fine.
OK, then, Ellie, jacks down,
and give that a quick blow, while it's hot.
'This is tough.'
OK, that's one bauble.
Yeah! It's bauble-shaped.
I think this is the biggest, roundest bauble
that's come out of this workshop.
You have time to grab it.
That's it, and roll it over, just little loop.
'This bauble will need to cool down.
'Sadly, I'll have to leave it behind.'
I know someone who would love one of those.
Well, I'm sure we can supply you with another bauble.
-They'll never know.
-They'll never know. Good plan.
-They'll never know.
In a moment, I'm going to be joining Matt and the people of Coverack
for the big switch-on, but before that,
let's find out what the weather's got in store for Christmas.
Today, we're in Coverack on the Cornish coast.
# It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... #
The whole village comes together for this seasonal celebration,
driven by a fantastic community spirit.
And Ellie's here, too,
adding some artistic panache,
and a few final, glittery touches to some of the local displays.
# Jack Frost nipping at your nose
# Yuletide carols
# Being sung by a choir... #
-It's looking lovely.
-It's looking fabulous.
# Folks dressed up like Eskimos... #
MUSIC: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
And as darkness descends on the harbour,
everyone begins to gather for the switch-on.
-# Had a very shiny nose... #
-The brass band's assembled,
the children have come out from the local school to
join the rest of the village...
Are you ready for a singsong?
..and we're all huddled together for the main event
beneath our beautiful tree, overlooking the harbour.
# Used to laugh and call him names... #
Are you sure? OK, good, good.
As long as we're all set, that's the main thing.
-How are you? Hello.
-Look at this.
-Isn't it something?
-It really is.
It's a bit dark at the moment, but when you look out that way,
and you just see the lights all the way around.
It's just absolutely breathtaking here, isn't it?
It's got me in the Christmas spirit -
-so much so, I've brought you a Christmas gift.
-Made by hand.
-Oh, my word.
-A Christmas bauble.
-Isn't that just beautiful?
-What about that?
Listen, I didn't think we were doing gifts this year,
but I thought you might bring me something,
so I've you something that was a bit last minute.
-There we are. There we are.
-Look at the presentation on that.
-There you go.
-Isn't that beautiful?
-Got me out of a hole there.
I don't think I'm going to wrap that and put it under the tree.
Listen, while everybody is in the mood for applauding and cheering,
I think we should have a massive countdown
-and turn on these lights. Yeah? ALL:
All right, then, in five...
-Four, three, two, one...
Hey, they look good.
It does look absolutely beautiful.
Oh, that's almost all we've got time for.
Next week, Adam will be here,
telling us all about the farming year.
Yes, but before we go, everybody here in Coverack
would like to wish you the very merriest of Christmases.
-# We wish you a merry Christmas
# We wish you a merry Christmas
# We wish you a merry Christmas
# And a happy New Year
# Glad tidings we bring
# To you and your kin
# We wish you a merry Christmas
# And a happy New Year. #
-CHEERING AND WHISTLING
-Happy Christmas, everybody.
It's Christmas, and Matt and Ellie are in the tiny Cornish fishing village of Coverack, helping the locals get the place set for the festivities. Matt joins the members of the Coverack Christmas Tree Committee as they head off to the woods to choose this year's tree. And, as Matt discovers, big trees don't squeeze easily through narrow streets. Ellie is doing her bit for wildlife by making a Christmas wreath made entirely of bird food. Will the tame robin she meets eat out of her hand?
Meanwhile, John is in Truro finding out how the Cornish love of carol-singing gave rise to the most famous carol service in the world. Tom's in Hampshire to meet the community who are getting behind their fishermen is the most festive way possible. Adam's on the Cornish farm where Christmas Day is one of the busiest of the whole year, and Sean Fletcher gets a Christmas cookery masterclass from Rick Stein. And we finish up back in Coverack where Ellie joins Matt and all the villagers in a last minute rush to get everything set for the big Christmas lights switch-on.