Thursday, 2 April 2020


Those of my readers who don’t fish or anglers of a younger age might not have heard of our BBC 2 fishing series, ‘A Passion for Angling’.

First shown in the autumn of 1993, it was heralded as ‘the best fishing series ever ’ and even now, after so many years, it still hits the spot with many who love angling and the wildlife of our glorious countryside.

We created the series for the BBC and the publicity at the time described it thus - ‘A Passion for Angling is a much acclaimed series of six films in which famous anglers Chris Yates and Bob James take us on a grand fishing adventure across Britain. Capturing the magic of angling is award winning cameraman Hugh Miles’.

Shown five times by the BBC, it attracted audiences of over six million so we offered it up as an attempt to cheer anglers up in these critical times and judging by the recent comments on YouTube, it still makes  good viewing. 

We are relieved that you still enjoy the films after all these years and are most grateful to Peter Drennan for agreeing to host the rest of the series on his website so that you can view each episode for free. We sincerely hope that our adventures with rod and line provide some respite from the acute challenges in these long weeks ahead.


Even if our series of films continues to attract a lot of enthusiastic comments and much of the praise is credited to Chris Yates, Bob James and myself, this is unfair.

Like every creative project, all films are team efforts and non more so than Passion, so to put the record straight I’d like to say that without the dulcet tones of Bernard Cribbins’ masterly narration or the beautiful music composed by Jenny Muskett, the films would have had a lot less appeal.

Add to that the beautiful quotes from angling literature spoken with such feeling by Chris Sandford and the subtle blending of all these elements by dubbing mixer Trevor Barber and you have the makings of a classic.

On each of the films there were some fifty stereo sound tracks to lay and mix together and Trevor’s skill ensures that you are unaware of the subtle changes that set the scene and link the sequences. Jennie’s music creates the mood and points up changes of time and season and when they blend these elements with the story and pictures you don’t even realise that the sound is there at all. 

Last but not least are my ace editors who are at the top of their profession because they have the knack of making sense of a pile of pictures and linking them together to tell the chosen story. My wife Sue jokingly calls it knitting but it is more a case of deceiving the audience into thinking events really happened in the way they appear when in fact, all the films you have ever seen are actually illusions of the truth.

Yes, you need lovely light to capture ‘artistic’ pictures along with nutty anglers enjoying their fishing but it is the team that creates the magic and if they transport you to a different, more wonderful world, then it’s rewarding for us all. My job is to blend all that talent together and that for me is the joy of making films with a team of top professionals.


Chris Yates is often thought of as a legend and as Bob James says in our film, “he’s starting to believe it” … but only in his lunchtime!

We started filming this first   because we were only going to make one half hour film. However, we had to make it a one hour movie because Chris and Bob caught four big carp in a week and I hadn’t the heart to edit any of them out.

First up on opening day was Chris’s scale perfect 24lb common, caught using Richard Walker’s famous Mk4 carp rod that Dick used to subdue his 44lb record. It was the rods first visit to Redmire since that remarkable day in 1952, an omen for future success perhaps?

A day or two later Bob also caught a common of exactly 24lbs, his first Redmire carp and by a strange coincidence this fish was also Chris’s first Redmire carp, easily recognisable because of its’ missing pectoral fins. Then Chris caught a 23lb common off the surface, the first he had ever snared in that way at Redmire. We were on a role, surprising because in the first weeks of fishing during the previous two years, no one caught a single carp.

Creating the ideas for sequences and dialogue were a team effort between the three of us, no doubt fuelled by red wine and I’m guessing the gudgeon match might have been my idea because I love dawn but this nearly killed Bob and Chris through lack of sleep! 

While hanging onto a high branch with one hand while filming the ‘tree trick’ was their chance to drown me but it seemed we couldn’t fail as Bob then caught the famous leather called Raspberry, one of the original Donald Leney fish and a mighty warrior of nearly sixty years old.

This fish was caught within yards of where Chris caught his 51lb record and because the weather was hot the carp migrated up to the shallows every day, so I built my scaffold tower in anticipation of their arrival.

If you’re wondering where these crazy ideas came from, look no further than Yates’ fertile mind because during his many visits with Rod Hutchinson they had lots of time to dream up ways of catching those elusive carp. 

He’d always wanted to try the scarecrow trick and it worked a treat, though we had to whisper instructions in falsetto voices, otherwise the carp melted away. We got some funny looks from the barman when ordering beers and forgetting to lower our high pitched voices!

Altogether it was an amazing weeks fishing adventure, so much so that we decided to make a further five films and the rest as they say, is history.

So if you enjoy the films enough you can always buy the complete set of films on DVD :  Here's Sue doing the business.

Thank you from us all for your encouragement and enthusiasm over all these years … Hugh, Chris and Bob.

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