So, Robson Green is back on our screens. Back on Channel 5 and back to stir up the kind of controversy not normally associated with programmes about men holding fishing rods.
Millions will tune in to watch his unique brand of delivery, his enthusiastic, Gordon Ramsay-esque, use of the F-word and his habit of man-handling fish before attacking them with a club.
And, as a result, anglers will moan. Just like they have moaned before, during and after each of the previous two series of Extreme Fishing where the former Soldier Soldier star has jetted off in search of our most exotic and hard-fighting of fish.
Forums will duly melt under the weight of abuse, letter writers will be at their incandescent worst and AT will field calls from irate readers who believe the motor-mouthed Geordie is the devil incarnate.
I, meanwhile, will wonder what all the fuss is about. Robson Green? He’s actually quite watchable, in my book.
Look, given a choice between some of the poorly produced drivel repeated ad nauseam on one supposedly ‘angling friendly’ satellite station I could mention, and our friend from the north, he wins every time. Easily.
Ask yourself these questions. Is it really such a bad thing that angling is now being beamed into the homes of millions? Should we really be finding fault when fishing, having suffered years in the terrestrial wilderness, has found a home ¬ for the third consecutive season ¬ on one of the five free-to-all channels? Does Robson Green, housewife’s favourite and genuine bonafide celebrity, really deserve such a battering for becoming, whether we like it or not, the new face of fishing?
Hardly. In securing a berth on such a high-profile station, he has ensured the sport has a presence where previously one didn’t exist. Angling has a foothold in the mainstream.
Yes, of course I’ve heard the criticism ¬ how he’s painting fishing in a poor light with his clumsy approach, his bad language and his flippant attitude towards taking fish for the pot. But, guess what? I don’t buy any of it. The public aren’t offended ¬ because if they were a million wouldn’t watch and he wouldn’t be on his third season.
Please, let’s forget pining for John Wilson. The days when a presenter was picked, first and foremost, for his talent as an angler are over ¬ and they aren’t coming back. Take Hugh Miles’ recent Catching the Impossible. Yes, as a pure angling vehicle it ticked the right boxes, but was it really suited to today’s mass market TV audience? Its eventual 7am Sunday morning slot on C4 suggests otherwise.
Look, celebrity driven vehicles are the only ones in TV town right now and if that means we’re left with Robson Green, below par angler but immediately recognisable to most of the country’s over 35s, then so be it. As I’ve said, it’s better than nothing.
Welcome back, Mr Green. Angling, whether the moaners accept it or not, has missed you.