Dubbed ‘the real star of Clarkson’s Farm’, Kaleb Cooper went from being a Chipping Norton farming contractor to "feeling like my face was literally everywhere" in a year.

His double act with Jeremy Clarkson, who he regularly dresses down, and his deadpan observations helped to make it one of the most-watched on television in 2021 with over 4 million viewers.

But Kaleb says the biggest change has been having his son Oscar - and buying milk.

He says: "Now I go in and speak to people an awful lot more, which is lovely, but it does take me a long time to get in and out, taking selfies and stuff. I think I’d find it quicker to actually go and buy a cow and get my own milk.

"But nothing else has really changed to be honest with you. I’m busier because I do lots of local charity work for Chipping Norton preschools and Macmillan Cancer Research and Katharine House Hospice."

Kaleb once said he got a nosebleed going to Stow-on-the-Wold, 18 miles away, and despite his huge success he still has no interest in foreign travel or even London, which he has visited three times, and hated, describing it as 'f****** awful'.

"I still spend the majority of my time in Chipping Norton," he says. "I went on holiday a couple of weeks ago to Broadway and Evesham. I think I was all right in Broadway because I knew that if I went back up Fish Hill I would be back home quickly."

So has fame any downsides?

"I haven’t really found any to be honest. I mean, I see lots of criticism from certain celebrities and stuff like that. If anyone wants to have a moan, fine, but I’m still me at the end of the day and I can’t change me.

"I’m not mobbed in Chipping Norton. When I walk through Chipping Norton everyone has known me since I was a kid so everyone is asking me how my mum is, how my dad is.

"When I go to the [Diddly Squat] farm shop there’s more selfies and questions and stuff like that. But Chipping Norton people are the most amazing people out there. They never treat me differently which is good because I’m no different to anyone else."

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He recently held a book signing at Jaffe and Neale in the town for The World According to Kaleb, in which he shares his thoughts on topics such as capital cities, famous people, hairstyles and why farming is the best job in the world.

"My book signing was really good," he says. "My dad built the bookshelves in Jaffe and Neale so it’s my local bookshop. But I turned up and I couldn’t find a parking space. Every parking space was taken. People turned up who lived along the road where my mum lives which is quite funny."

Kaleb met his partner Taya at Chipping Norton School and they will have been together seven years next June.

She too is relaxed about the unexpected turn their lives have taken.

"I remember when we started filming, I said to her, I’m taking part in this Clarkson’s Farm. And she said, that’s nice, fine. Are you going to be back late tonight? Will you heat your dinner up?

"She’s the most amazing person because she never ever says to me when are you coming home, why aren’t you at home yet? You know, I’m a farmer, I work all hours of the day. Every good farmer needs a good wife. I’m a firm believer in that."

Kaleb knew who Jeremy Clarkson was before he started working with him but hadn’t watched his shows as he started farming at 13.

There is a genuine friendship between the pair, with Kaleb saying: "I’m not really aware what we say is funny. When we’re talking I’m just myself. You know, I’m not an actor, I’m a farmer and when the camera’s turned on it is just who I am.

"I don’t intend to be funny, that's just my mindset of how it works. Jeremy is pretty much the same when the camera’s on, nothing changes.

"He’s involved and lives at the farm full-time now. He’s got a little farming knowledge now, and that’s dangerous."

Kaleb has been tipped for his own TV career but has other plans.

And despite constantly changing his hairstyle it won't be bringing out a haircare range.

"Depending on what haircut I have depends on the products I use. So if I have a perm I use a product which is like a moisturizer. It’s wavy at the moment, I’m waiting for it to grow out now," he says.

"I’ve gone through so many stages with my hair. I reckon it’s going to be a cold winter. So my tip is, try and grow as much hair as you can and stay warm."

What he really fancies is launching his own clothing line.

"It would be country – definitely not white trainers and no white jeans. I’m still fiddling around and getting the knowledge. Luckily I have a friend who does that for a job. I want to design a really good, well made shirt that’s not going to rip and jeans that are not going to rip for farmers. All a country flavour."

His great ambition is to own his own farm.

"The biggest problem I have is that farms round me in the Cotswolds, you’re looking at a lot of money," he says. "I want to stay in Chipping Norton for the rest of my life until I grow old.

"I’m saving as much as I can but it’s a balance between saving for a farm and buying kit for expanding my contracting business.

"I want my business to go forward and it’s doing very well but where do you find the time to stop and save for a £4million farm. I’ll be the first farmer to have all the kit before I start farming it."

In his spare time he can be found playing darts in the Kings Arms, "it’s the only pub in Chipping Norton that's got my cider" but he's at his happiest doing his job.

"Clarkson's Farm was amazing for farming," he says. "I mean, it’s put farming back on the map, hasn’t it?

"The adrenaline buzz is that every day I’m farming. I’m like the Chipping Norton Steve Irwin. I don’t need coffee to keep me going. I’m just pumped to be out there working all the time 24/7.

"I don’t really stop to be honest, I’ve got to keep that dream up of owning my own farm so I’ve got to keep working.

"And no I won’t have a Lamborghini tractor. Yes, Jeremy still has it. He’s done plenty of stuff with it like hitting gateposts, I try and look the other way now."

What about ambitions for son Oscar? Does he want him to be a farmer like his dad, or a media star... like his dad?

"I’d love my kid to take after me and become a little farmer," he says. "There’s nothing I’d want more. But at the same time if he wants to go to London and do television or go to London and do accountants that will be fine.

"But I’m never going to visit him. He’ll have to come and visit me."

  • The World According to Kaleb is out now on hardback, ebook and audiobook. Hardback £16.99. Published by Quercus.



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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Miranda.Norris@newsquest.co.uk. Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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