Don Jones on working on ‘a dream come true’!

In the summer sometimes we were loaned out to regional programmes, so you got to work on other types of programmes. And also at this time, Steve Hawes and Bruce Macdonald had decided to make a series called Rod and Line, which was a dramatisation of Arthur Ransome’s angling essays. Arthur Ransome is famous for having written Swallows and Amazons, but he was also a very keen angler and he’d written these beautiful essays that I think first appeared in the Manchester Guardian. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was the only person in the whole of Granada who knew anything about fishing. So Steve Hawes got to know about this and he asked me if I would work on this series as the researcher, which for me was a dream come true. For Doherty, he considered it to be a complete nuisance but was persuaded to let me out, almost on day release, as it were.

So when I was in the sports department I was also working as a researcher on Rod and Line, which turned into a thirteen-part series which featured the actor Michael Hordern. He was quite a famous Shakespearean actor and film actor, but he was also a really expert fly fisherman. So I spent a wonderful time travelling round the country with Bruce Macdonald and Michael Hordern, filming fishing. It was a drama as well – it was a dramatisation and it was set in the 1920s, and it was just a wonderful experience for me. That was an absolute joy. It was quite successful and it went out in the first week of Channel 4 – it was one of their opening programmes in their first week. I’m quite proud to say that in the year 2000 it was released on DVD. So I’ve got the DVD and it’s fantastic to think that something that we made in the early eighties was considered to be relevant in…

That made you very proud.

I was quite proud, yeah. It was a wonderful thing to work on.

There are a number of episodes from this series posted on YouTube including episode 1 here


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