Sarah Beeny heads for a new life in the Country

Sarah, Graham and their four boysSarah, Graham and their four boys
Sarah, Graham and their four boys
Wednesday: Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country; (C4, 8pm)

There was a time when you could hardly switch on the TV without seeing Sarah Beeny dishing out common sense-inspired property advice, often to people who had absolutely no intention of following her lead – more fool them.

But in recent months, apart from the odd advert, it’s been oddly quiet on the Beeny front – and we’re about to find out why.

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Last year, she and her husband, artist Graham Swift, sold Rise Hall, the property they renovated in East Yorkshire, turning it into a profitable wedding and events venue. But rather than simply move full time to London, they decided to relocate themselves and their four sons to the far more peaceful setting of rural Somerset.

“I think I’ve always quite enjoyed the buzz from change and mountainous challenges and moving our whole family lock stock and barrel from city to country and re-inventing our whole life has certainly been that,” says Beeny, who’s really putting her money where her mouth is with this project.

“I am so aware of how lucky we are to be able to do something like this, but it’s been a life changing experience. But ultimately I do believe you only live once and if you can make a dream real you should try and journey down that path if you can.”

It’s a good thing the property expert has such a positive outlook, because there are times when chasing the dream of a rural idyll looks set to beat her. It begins as she and Swift’s planning application, crucial to their hopes of turning a semi-derelict former dairy farm into a modern, carbon neutral mini-stately home, comes under close scrutiny from the local authorities.

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There’s tension, but not too much – it isn’t really a spoiler to say that eventually it goes through; it’s an eight-part series, so there would have been an awful lot of dead air to fill if it hadn’t.

But it isn’t just the house they have to concentrate on. The property includes 220 acres of farmland, some of which they set out to landscape; the rest they hope to let grow wild, perhaps providing a haven for local bird and animal life.

Beeny also wants to keep bees and hens and sample the wares of local businesses, including cheese and cider-makers and chilli-growers. But the series begins during lambing season, and it’s clear the entire family are keen to help bring the cute, woolly youngsters into the world.

Kate Thomas, Commissioning Editor for Channel 4, comments: “This sunny, escapist and hugely feel-good series taps directly into the daydreams that are, now more than ever, keeping us all going – a longing for a simpler, slower way of life, closer contact with family, and a more meaningful relationship with nature. These things have a real resonance right now, and as Sarah and her family guide us through their own journey (which has a few daunting challenges along the way!) I hope that our audience will feel both comforted and inspired.”

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