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Shooting and fishing: A shot at digital

"I don't think we are going to be a threat to gritty urban dramas," says Charlie Jacoby, the new face of digital field sports.

At least I suppose that's what he is. Jacoby used to be editor of Sporting Rifle and before that Sporting Shooter and before that he is said to have been angling correspondent for the East African Standard.

He is now to be front man for the Field Sports Channel. And, as it happens, he is a fan of this column. Or rather he has been nicking it once a month for Sporting Rifle, a magazine of hair-raising political incorrectness and all the better for that. If, as you surely do, you believe everything you read in the papers, you know that internet TV is the Next Big Thing.

This time next year, if you can't find what you want to watch on existing TV channels, you will be able to watch the likes of YouTube and all other internet video channels on the telly.

You will, of course, need a new and hideously expensive internet-enabled TV. But give it a few years and we'll be picking them up cheap at car boot sales. Possibly.

Otherwise we shall all have to watch Jacoby (the emphasis is on the "o" for those interested in these things) on the computer. If you want to get a taste of what the UK's first dedicated field sports TV channel is going to look and sound like you can catch a glimpse of Jacoby in action at this year's Crufts (Crumpet, our working cocker, and I watched it together).

As you will know, the BBC went all funny about covering Crufts because it fell out with the Kennel Club over inbreeding, so the Field Sports Channel pitched up to cover the gun dog section.

Jacoby, on this evidence, is well on the way to becoming the Boris Johnson of field sports – although I am not sure he actually says "Crikey" – but you feel he might.

The channel has already put up programmes on stalking and chalk stream fishing and the whole shebang goes fully operational in August with half-hour programmes once a week.

David Wright, a TV producer who is setting up the channel, says he discovered Jacoby by chance when he wanted to make a programme about the huge numbers of wild boar now roaming the south of England. Jacoby took the film crew off to Croatia to show them how to run a wild boar shoot. The pair decided there was an untapped TV market in field sports. Other channels had done country subjects but none was dedicated purely to field sports. Research showed that 80 per cent of British Deer Society members actually had broadband. Now there's a thing.

Wright says he has been amazed at the sheer breadth of knowledge and enthusiasm exhibited by interviewees on everything from ferret diseases to pigeon mating calls: "Put them in front of a camera and they are unstoppable."

Of course, I think the Field Sports Channel will be in hot water pretty soon; questions in the House and all that. It was Jacoby whose magazine offered a 500 prize for the largest number of magpies killed by one person and a trophy for the first person to shoot a British Big Cat – I think, like me, he reckons they are just over-bloated feral moggies. Plenty of scope for a programme there. www.fieldsportschannel.tv

 
 
 

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