Tue, 26th Jul 2011 | MasterSignwriter | 6,686 Views, 2 Nods.

FISHTOWN - A Review.

So, it seems that a lunatic with a gun and the death of a music icon have directed our attention away from the new Bin Laden aka Rupert Murdoch and in true British fashion the fickleness that is our collective outrage has been put on the back boiler.

Excellent, that means we can now watch Sky TV without our subconscious berating us for funding such a colossal bastard.
Not that mine did, I think he's a genius and I would be interested to know if anyone did hurl their sky plus boxes out of the window in anger, I doubt it.

Anyway one of Murdochs many 55% owned broadcasting stations 'Sky Atlantic' has become one of my favourite stations. With an impressive line up, showcasing some of Americas most inspiringly written and brilliantly acted dramas to date I was a little surprised to hear about their new and first company produced documentary.

FishTown - a ten part documentary about Brixham.
(for anyone who hasn't heard about it or seen it, I promise you im not making this up, do an internet search)

10 hours of Brixham in 1 hour segments.

Which pretty much describes my own personal experience of the place, having grown up only a stones throw away in its neighbouring town Paignton.

A place i learned to avoid as a teenager, large burly gangs of fishermen splashing around in their rigger boots looking for someone to impregnate or beat up, or possibly both.
Thick forearmed women, with more tattoos than teeth, and pubs that would literally go silent, stop and stare at any newcomer stupid enough to accidentally discover their pub.
Worryingly there was only 3 roads in and out of Brixham, which made quick escapes a problem.

Im sure to this day there are locals that have never ventured any further than the headland then ran back terrified, telling tales of a big shiny city where upright walking humans do things that don't involve fish.

Apart from the fear of being cornered by a gang of bored locals and being told I had a 'purty mouth boy' I found the isolation that the people of Brixham revelled in quite suffocating, so I stayed clear of the place.
A beautiful and strange place in equal measure.

So, with my prehistory explained you can understand my confusion to how they were going to fill 10 hours of television with the place.

I was rather surprised by what I saw.

Beautifully shot scenes of the surrounding coastline at sunrise started the show accompanied by a dreamy soundtrack, as silhouettes of lone fishermen gathering their nets melted into the sea.

A narrator starts speaking in verse with velvety tones about the people of Fish Town 'waking under a new dawn and the cloak of a birds wing, awaiting the fishermans call and the gift he brings, or words to that effect, it was all very whimsical.

I checked the program information to check I watching the right program.

The program continued to show the local shopkeepers through the golden hue of an early spring morning, setting up for the day. Windows were cleaned, pavements swept, awnings opened and walls were painted.

I felt like I was watching one of those kids programmes from the 80's like Camblewick Green and kept expecting a brightly coloured wooden doll to wobble out of one of the shop door ways and introduce themselves as Fisherman Fred and his dog spot.

He didn't, but who did was just as amusing and surreal.

My favourites being a local chip shop owner with a voice that resembled Micky Mouse if he smoked 50 fags a day and his wife who only communicated in double-entendres, tottering around in stilhetoes going on about the size of mullet.

A rather rowdy, elderly landlady of the Buccaneer pub, who was only filmed in repose as she stared out of windows chain smoking and slagging everything off in the tone of a hardened docker.

The staff of the fish market making arrangements for a visit from Princess Anne, which consisted of 'don't swear and make sure she gets a big box of Turbot to take home'

Then cut to more gorgeous shots of the bay as a fisherman tells of his lifetime on the sea and how his skills have been passed down from generation to generation, then more poetry as we see him sail off into the distance.

This was brilliant Tv.
It made me feel a bit shallow for judging the town in such a negative manner for so many years.Or was this just clever editing?
Why had I never met these people?.
I could watch them for hours and they only liVe around the corner.

Although despite my new found love of Brixham, im going to wait till the whole series is over before i cast judgement again, after all this only episode one.

I have nagging feeling that its going to escalate into a Blair Witch Type of scenario where the last images feature the Spratt and Mackerel Pub, where a crowd of drunken locals circle the camera crew, saying 'your not from round these parts ' as the camera drops to the floor and we see a shot of and enormous whicker statue ready for setting light to on the harbour side.


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Sat, 30th Jul 2011
I actually watched this last night and it wasn't half bad. It does tend to give the impression that everyone chugs off on a trawler into the rising sun muttering 'Oooh Arrrr!' while dressed as Johnny Depp, but nevertheless a good travelogue and well worth a watch next week.
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Wed, 27th Jul 2011
I'm afraid I'm a bit behind the times so cannot comment, I only ever listen to Radio Stoke Gabriel on 742 meters long wave!
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Wed, 27th Jul 2011
Clever editing-Failing port ravaged by a culture of drug crime and no prospects of improvement!! Some nice views from Berry Head and Southdown!
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Tue, 26th Jul 2011
If there's a mere hint of that H then that's when my Sky+ box DOES get hurled out of the window.
Nod+ (0)
Tue, 26th Jul 2011
will there be a whole hour dedicated to the self styled teaching guru and blogging idiot I wonder ?
Nod+ (2)
Tue, 26th Jul 2011
I cannot support Rupert as I cannot afford Sky!( Despite being an early subscriber)but with an unending REPEAT of programming on the Discovery Channels. What's the point?But must admit to a sneaky wish to see" Fish Town" If only to see how anybody gets past" Windy Corner" to get there.
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Tue, 26th Jul 2011
I hope they cover the holiday camps, I have some great memories of Landscove.
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Tue, 26th Jul 2011
Luckily, not being one to hurl Sky+ boxes in anger, I've just set mine to record the series from this Friday. With my past experience of Brixham folk I'm not sure how traumatised I'm gonna end up but I'm willing to give it a go.
Nod+ (0)
Tue, 26th Jul 2011
I fire right back at you with, (as you wrote on one of my posts), You can
tell by the smell.
You know the rest.
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