Has your television got one of these?
Mine has and its been working overtime.
I met Jeremy Wade at a fishing show at the NEC. Having read and re-read Somewhere Down The Crazy River that he co wrote with Paul Boote, I was eager to hear what he had to say about Mahseer so I talked him into doing a talk at the BS Conference.
He's an interesting bloke, obviously from a very privileged background and able to travel widely and indulge himself. He spoke with great enthusiasm about India, his recent trip to the Amazon and his quest for the Arapaima. He came across as a decent sort.
However, I have just been watching the latest in his 'River Monsters' series and I do wonder what planet JW is actually from and what sort of of an impact his trashy little program is having on the public's opinions of fish?
Obviously made for an American audience, the program plods along with every point reiterated ad nauseum and each dramatic recreation shown over and over. I hate this form of delivery, it really does play to the dumbest member of the audience and leaves anybody with three or more brain cells frustrated. Bloody Yanks. But that is not the worse of it, its the whole demonising of each species of fish that irks me!
For those of you that have missed it, the premise of the show is that Jeremy heads off to all corners of the globe in search of 'monsters' of the deeps that have a history of dragging poor native children from the banks into their watery graves. Each species is made out to be more dangerous than the last and the hyperbole comes thick and fast.
His claims, in tonight's show, that a modest catfish could pull a fisherman to his untimely death was just ridiculous (whatever happened to carrying a knife so that you can cut the line in the event of a dunking?). In a previous episode the Wels catfish was portrayed as a man-eater and I think next week he claims that a gudgeon once ate a horse. It really is rubbish.
In these days of health and safety (don't get me started), can you imagine the pitch to the TV executives? "We are going to dangerous places to try to catch man-eating fish and will be in mortal danger 24/7". Its not going to happen is it? This is just a guy on a fishing holiday selling out to "The Man" for a few shillings and it sucks. What really annoys me is that a properly presented program about one man searching the World for large and exotic species could appeal to a wide audience but once again the television companies bottle it.
Of course, to get a minority interest show on mainstream TV you need a 'celebrity'. Quite why this is so I really don't know but it is just one more dumbing down of TV and the media in general. Enter Robson 'kin Green. I cringe at the thought that the many anglers around the world that meet this precious little prick will believe that the rest of the UK's anglers are so whiney and ungracious. Now here's a bloke that should be introduced to a true man-eater.
But I keep on watching. I know, I should turn the bloody thing off but its fishing and we are starved of new material so I am yet another hopeless case just hoping that it may improve.
For those of you that crave some escapism I'm currently reading 'Globetrotter's Quest' by Tony Davies-Patrick, (reduced to £15 at Carp Talk books), I just wish we could have something like this on the telly.