Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Saturday, 9 August 2003 11:28 UK

Possible makeover for Martin's farm

Tony Martin returns to Bleak House
Mr Martin arrived at the farm with newspaper reporters
Farmer Tony Martin is considering offers from a television company to refurbish his dilapidated home.

It is believed that Martin, 58, will look at an offer to transform Bleak House, in Emneth Hungate, near the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire border, in a prime time makeover show.

Martin is understood to have stayed with friends in Norfolk overnight after returning to his farm in the early hours of Friday.

He spent the early evening alone at his run-down home, which has no power or running water, but has not been seen at the farm on Saturday morning.

Supporter Malcolm Starr, who spoke to Martin late on Friday night, said the farmer had inspected his property and spent time there in quiet contemplation.

Bleak House
Martin's home at Bleak House is overgrown and dilapidated

"He said he had spent time alone there, taking a few breaths and thinking what to do now," said Mr Starr.

"Tony is determined to get working on the farm again and to restore the building, but said he just wanted to spend a few quiet moments.

"Contrary to some reports today, he said that he did go inside the farmhouse and saw how much work there is to be done.

"But he said he had been pleasantly surprised at how much his garden had grown."

Mr Starr said Martin had later watched television reports of his homecoming and had been embarrassed by his angry outburst at a photographer.

One of Tony Martin's peacocks at his Bleak House farm
Martin is known to be fond of the peacocks at his farm

"He was very upset that he had shouted `leave me alone' at a photographer, and wants to make it clear that he was not annoyed but simply tired after getting up so early," said Mr Starr.

"Tony was concerned about that and wanted to apologise. He has a lot of friends and supporters in the area and several places where he can stay in Norfolk."

He said Martin would consider an offer for Bleak House to be the subject of a television home and garden show.

"There has been an approach from a station who want to film a makeover show at the farm and it will be put to Tony when everything is on the table" said Mr Starr.

"With everything that there is to be done there, you'd think there would be enough material for an entire 12-week series."

Friends who visited Martin on Friday said he had been distressed at how badly the property had fallen into disrepair since he was jailed.

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