Farmer in Charge TV review: hardly the most novel twist on the job-swap idea

Cork farmer Maurice Walsh knows nothing about hairdressing. His mission? To to help save a struggling hairdressing salon in Dublin

You’re running an ailing hairdressing business in Tallaght that’s shedding cash with alarming speed. You’ve cut wages, trimmed expenses and shaved off excess spending. But the business is still going under. Something drastic has to be done.

Fear not – Marty Morrissey has the solution. He’s going to call in one of Ireland’s “unsung heroes” with experience of running a successful business. This super-executive does it all, from balancing the books to mucking out the cowsheds. Yes, it’s time for a farmer to rock up in his tractor and dig this dying business out of the silage pit.

Farmer in Charge is hardly a novel twist on the job-swap idea. Even the theme tune – Me and The Farmer by The Housemartins – is a bit obvious. The premise: get a son of the soil up from the country (in this case Cork dairy farmer Maurice Walsh) to help save a struggling urban business (in this case Angel hairdressers, run by husband-and-wife Nick and Claire Reddin). As Walsh admits, he knows nothing about hairdressing (although I'm sure he could do a good cowlick), but he does have a strong work ethic and plenty of hands-on experience. And he knows all about making hay while the sun shines.

Blind faith
Nick, meanwhile, is not exactly an advertisement for good grooming with his scraggly beard and hangdog expression, he looks more like a farmhand. And his business plan seems to be based on blind faith. Pretty soon he and Maurice are clashing – Maurice, well used to getting up at the crack of dawn to milk the cows, can't understand why Nick is still in bed with a hangover at 10am. And Nick is not too happy about having his obvious flaws highlighted by this blow-in from Cork.


It’s not long before the farming analogies are flying like cowpats: customers are compared to cattle (they can actually hear you over the sound of hairdryers, Maurice), and although Maurice doesn’t exactly say he’s been sold a pig in a poke, you know that’s what he’s thinking.

Alas, Maurice can’t use the Common Agricultural Policy to get an EU subsidy for the salon, but he can call in celebrity stylist Gary Kavanagh, professional store designer Maria O’Neill and a bevy of beauty bloggers to help get the business back on track. But really, anyone with an ounce of business sense could have done the same. How about getting in Michael O’Leary to sort out Irish Water’s liquidity? Or Louis Walsh to get the Luas back on track? Now there’s a chance for some real sparks to fly.