For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.
He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.
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ANGLING ON TV
WHEN it comes to angling on TV there are two schools of thought.
One group of anglers get turned off, the others get tuned in. There’s no doubt that Matt Hayes and Chris Yates get a unified nod of approval. John ‘Mr Crabtree’ Bailey is on his way to being rubber stamped as good. But the ranks are split when it comes to John Wilson, Robson Green and even Jeremy Wade.
For me, Chris and Bob James’ A Passion for Angling (which still has its own website) was a one-off, something that could probably never be repeated.
It was pure fishing but the countryside, the filming by Hugh Miles and the banter made it compulsive viewing, even for non-anglers. This was what fishing is all about and I doubt that it could ever be repeated in the form of a new series. It would never quite be the same.
Matt’s enthusiasm for all things fishing is never in any doubt. His ideas for Rod Race and incorporating travelogues and history into his other programs guaranteed it airspace. Matt deserves massive credit for piecing together clever ideas that kept fishing as the mainstay yet gave enough to TV commissioning editors to win space on the airwaves.
John Wilson was, undoubtedly, the king of getting our sport on the box with his then revolutionary programs. No one should argue against the fact that he gave a massive boost to the sport and had a huge impact on the programs that followed. Trouble with John was that laugh! It really got to me (and others)… but then again was that a bad thing? As we all remember if and because of that we also remember his programs and even repeat his catchphrases.
John Bailey’s Crabtree has been a successful project so far and with JB at the helm should get even stronger. I would love to see him and the producers develop this a bit further and believe that he has the knowledge, ability and capacity to drive this programmer to bigger things. JB is a link from the past, through the current trends of angling and on into the future. I for one am certainly behind his efforts.
Now we get into the tricky territory, so get your fingers limbered up for some comments…
Robson Green. I think he is great…so now you can hit the comment button! But before you do, just think how many non-anglers will watch this and get the fishing bug purely because of the genial Geordie’s entertainment value.
Ok, so he’s off on trips all over the world that few of us will ever be able to afford. So what…still makes me dream and want to go fishing.
Ok, so he has to do a few silly stunts and kill a few fish. But have you noticed how he has responded to early flak and now points out he is killing his specimens purely because it is what the locals do? He has to or they might eat him in some cases!
Now Jeremy Wade. Brilliant journalism. Great stories and superb fishing.
River Monsters is compulsive viewing, even if some of those fish like the giant stingray make me think twice about where I may fish abroad. And catching catfish from the radioactive surrounds of Chernobyl has to be one of the best programs I have ever watched. Forget about the fishing content, that was a genius idea. Jeremy has hit screens all over the world with this program. He has put our sport slap bang in people’s faces, whether they like fishing or not.
And of course thanks to Sky we also have regular Tight Lines with Keith Arthur and a whole slew of more specialist programs on satellite TV. Count up the hours, include the repeats and our sport – despite what you might think – gets lots of time on the airwaves. Of course it’s not the best. Of course it could be improved on. Everything in the world can be better than it is. Nothing is perfect.
But if you don’t have any credible ideas to lure producers into making more programs that will captivate big audiences, then be thankful for what we have got. Constructive rather than destructive criticism will help. All out attacks won’t. That will only result in the plug being pulled and angling on TV heading back to the dark ages.
For those of you old enough to remember, one of the best ‘angling’ programs on TV used to be Out of Town with Jack Hargreaves. He used to sit in a shed, smoke his pipe and tell us all about the country and slip in the odd section about fishing. Jack was a bit like an early Crabtree. He was class and as a youngster I’d sit praying for his five or ten minutes with a fishing rod.
We have progressed a lot since that began in 1966, despite what you may think.
COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK WITH HIS POPULAR PLEASURE FISHING BLOG NEXT SUNDAY.
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