I’m probably showing my age now, but when I was a kid, the one program I always looked forward to was aired on a Sunday evening at around 7pm on BBC 2; The World About Us. At the time, we only had three TV Channels to choose from; BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV. Although depending on where you lived you might only get two out of the three channels! How times have changed! Besides, I never used to watch that much TV; I was always out somewhere playing rugby, down at the river or elsewhere doing stuff that kids used to do, all in the fresh air.
It was a programme that brought far-flung nature into the living room and educated us as to what was out there, as the name suggests, in the world about us. It possibly did more to educate us about nature and wild life than text books ever did. Unsurprisingly, I think it was the brainchild of David Attenborough whom we have so much to thank for with regards to documenting nature.
Anyway, why The World About Us? Well, in February 2013 issue of Trout and Salmon magazine an article appeared dedicated to that great angling entomologist and naturalist, John Goddard who unfortunately died in December 2012 aged 89. I never met him but through his books I learnt to appreciate the flora and fauna that populate and grow in and around our rivers and streams. One of my favourites was his book Trout Fly Recognition. I still have it from when I was a kid. I read it over and over and eventually carried out a survey of flies that hatch throughout the year on my local River Cynon, a tributary of the River Taff. I could only do it at weekends and during ‘Miners Fortnight’ because otherwise the river was ‘Bible Black’ with coal dust from the washeries!
Well, in 1980, the BBC televised an episode of the World About Us entitled, The Educated Trout.
What a seminal programme. Never before had the trout and angling been looked at so closely or televised on such a prestigious stage. The only pity of it was that the video recorder as a consumer item was still a couple of years away. But as a result of the programme a classic book, co-authored with Brian Clarke, The Educated Trout was released. I don’t know which came first, the book or the programme, but both gave insights never before seen or thought about. The discussions on entomology, rise forms, fish behaviour and a multitude of other topics were covered. I paid a special interest to the fly dressing and the many new patterns that had been devised at the time particularly the now infamous USD paradun tied expertly by Stuart Canham and also the the suspender buzzer. What you have to bear in mind is that this was all done over 30 years ago!
So never mind mulling this over…….some kind fellow, mrbilly356, has put it all on youtube for our pleasure. I doff my cap mrbilly356 and thank you for rekindling some very fond memories:
Looking back at the video, I can’t believe how many flies used to hatch and how enjoyable it must have been. It’s only in hindsight that you come to understand how much modern pesticides have accounted for. I don’t see hatches like that anymore and my car bonnet is no longer covered in flies as it once was after a summers evening driving.
Never mind, the season is about to start and the Large Dark Olives are appearing already and the fish are rising. Bring on those lazy days.