Vinnie Jones takes a refreshing approach to exploring masculinity in nature, making for a captivating television experience.
In his adult years, innie Jones has been characterized by two distinct images. The first is a picture captured on the field during his time as a pro soccer player, where he can be seen scowling with clear aggression as he reaches behind himself and firmly grasps Paul Gascoigne’s genitals. The second image is a promotional photo for the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, in which Jones is once again scowling menacingly, this time holding two shotguns behind his head in a crucifix-like pose.
Perhaps it is now appropriate to include a third option. As we watch the beginning of his new show, Vinnie Jones: In the Country, we are shown a striking scene of Jones standing in the center of a copse surrounded by bluebells, listening to the sounds of birds. “It’s amazing,” he quietly says in a reverent tone.
It is evident that there are two possible explanations for this situation. Either Jones has moved on from his reckless and aggressive behavior and has become a considerate conservationist, or – which is more probable – he has been influenced by Jeremy Clarkson’s success in his farming show and wants to replicate it for his own benefit.
It’s almost impossible to find a show more similar to Clarkson’s Farm than this. It follows a former country boy as he attempts to revive his connection to nature and take on an ambitious and unlikely project. The focus is not just on the main character, but also on his team (which will be discussed in detail later). Despite its seemingly lighthearted tone, the show has some deeper themes. The only major difference between Vinnie Jones: In the Country and Clarkson’s Farm is the absence of an actual farm.
Clarkson’s show has a specific objective of achieving financial success through farming, showcasing the extreme measures that farmers must take to sustain themselves. In contrast, Jones is simply converting stables into an office and also owns 60 hectares of land, which in the first episode is only shown as him pondering the number of hedgehogs living on it. The lack of clear purpose may lead some to dismiss the show as unoriginal.
Despite all of this, it is still very charming. This is partly due to the team that Jones has put together, who seem to be very unsuitable for their jobs. His assistant Emma is often seen dropping things, misusing the company credit card, and openly losing her cool with her boss. Meanwhile, Jones’s right-hand man is a large man named Wobbly, who presumably got his nickname from his unstable emotions. Not one to shy away from confrontation, Wobbly frequently explodes at those around him, dismissing it as mere banter. While Wobbly may be a great guy in person (I am writing this so he doesn’t come and punch me), the show paints him as someone you wouldn’t want to be around. In comparison, the famously temperamental Jones comes across as just a bit eccentric.
The show also presents an intriguing contrast between the desires of the host and the producers. There is a noticeable gap between what he envisions for the show and what they have in mind. Jones’s wife, Tanya, passed away four years ago, and the show works to infuse every moment with a tangible sense of sorrow. Despite having a packed schedule and juggling numerous projects, Jones appears to be wholeheartedly dedicated. His intense fascination with hedgehogs may seem excessive to some, but within the context of the show, it is portrayed as a way for him to cope with the anguish of losing his wife.
Jones may not be fully embracing his introspection. Most of his self-reflection is presented through a voiceover, possibly written by a producer, as he seems determined to avoid discussing it in person. This contrast reveals an interesting portrayal of masculinity. Jones appears to be struggling and searching for an outlet for his inner turmoil. However, when faced with the idea of confronting his grief on camera, he cannot bear it.
Similar to others around the globe, I believed that Vinnie Jones: In the Country would consist solely of a man exclaiming “Weyyyy” while driving a tractor for hours on end. However, it is much more complex than that. In fact, this only adds to its appeal.
The show “Vinnie Jones: In The Country” can be found on Discovery +.