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Dorset Days: a year in the life of Longhorn Jim. 

A unique documentary filmed in 

Broadcast on BBC FOUR
Thursday 16 April 2009 at 9 pm
and repeated three times.
The episode featured covers the month of April and was filmed, edited and directed by documentary maker Clive Whaley from Bridport.

Music by Robert Lee.

Broadcast under the title: “Dorset Days: a year in the life of Longhorn Jim”,this documentary has been extremely well received - with nearly one million viewers - a huge audience for BBC Four. It was highlighted as recommended viewing in the Radio Times, The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph and The Sunday Times - the latter describing it as a ‘delightful documentary’. Jim Armstrong loves his life as a tenant farmer in the beautiful West Dorset countryside. He helps to look after what he describes as a ‘handsome’ herd of over 100 traditional longhorn cattle and his own flock of sheep, and he seems born to do it.

But his early career couldn’t have been more different. He joined the Navy as a 16-year-old recruit and two years later was at war. He served in the British task force that recaptured the Falkland Islands from Argentinean forces in 1982. After leaving the Navy he spent 12 years as a fire-fighter at Heathrow Airport before finally moving to Dorset and learning to farm by working as a ‘farm hand’ in Dorset’s picturesque Bride Valley.

This documentary follows Jim in discrete monthly episodes throughout 2007 (the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War) as he struggles to farm the traditional way. We meet his family and other animals, including his fast and fearless sheepdog ‘Speckle’ and we observe the gentle rhythm and pattern of a year on the farm. Sad echoes of his war experiences re-surface at times, but they never dent his optimistic spirit or his delight in selling meat locally and spending his days in the great Dorset outdoors.

A warm and uplifting portrait of a man who has come to terms with war and found peace on the land. Filmed, edited and directed by first time documentary maker Clive Whaley from Bridport.

Music by Heron and Robert Lee.