Fishing In The Footsteps of Mr Crabtree

So John Bailey looks me knowingly in the eye, and says 'You and me are of an age where Mr Crabtree was THE thing to read, if you were into fishing at that time', and of course, he was dead right!

I was standing with John, and a young lad called Tadhg (pronounced 'Tie'), and milling around in the background, the film crew for 'Fishing in the footsteps of Mr Crabtree'.

Tadhg, John, and yours truly, at Kings Lynn

Tadhg, John, and yours truly, at Kings Lynn

Tadhg, was the latest Crabtree Kid to be involved in the making of this new series that has tried to echo the sentiments of the original cartoon strip, which ran for 25 years in the Daily Mirror during the 1940s and 50s.

'Not that I'm trying to be Mr Crabtree' retorts John, 'Dressing up in plus-fours, and smoking a pipe! But it's about re-kindling the simple pleasure of fishing, that Bernard Venables so brilliantly put over in his strips and books'.

Having been invited up to Kings Lynn in Norfolk to meet John, by the Toast Entertainment Group who are producing the series, I arrive at a housing development run by the Yours Community.

Besides building homes, the group is undertaking the rejuvenation of 18 acres of public green space, with the inclusion of courtyard gardens, a children's play area, a full size football pitch and central park, plus the clean-up of a lovely stretch of the river Nar that runs through the site.

Size isn't everything, sometimes it's just about being there

Size isn't everything, sometimes it's just about being there

It's this part of the project that the Crabtree team hopes to highlight, with proposals to re-invigorate the river for fishing, riverside walks, and generally improve the habitat for the wildlife.

So with the local community out in force, along with representatives from the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust, it seems that everyone is behind this project, but I soon see John down by the river helping pull out litter, traffic cones and the proverbial old tyre from the water.

The production companies very helpful PR Paula gets us together, and we're soon chatting about the series. It's the first time I've met John, and what a smashing bloke he is, very easy going, and full of enthusiasm for this project.

I ask him how it all started 'Well, the Toast group came up with this idea of re-launching Mr Crabtree as a TV series, so they spoke to the Mirror, who published the original strips, and things started moving from there. They then contacted me, and asked if I'd like to get involved, and I was only too pleased'.

'After all my years in angling, it's nice to give something back, and that's exactly what Mr Crabtree stood for, passing on his knowledge to the next generation'.

Star of the show, Tadhg, listens to mentor John

Star of the show, Tadhg, listens to mentor John

We chat for a while longer, before John's wanted by the director for the final shots with Tadhg down by the waters edge. 

It's been an interesting insight into what goes on behind the scenes, and I'm looking forward to watching the series on the box later this year.