Cornwall: This Fishing Life

Rating 7.4
Streamer BBC iPlayer
Seasons 2
Episodes 7 x 60 mins

The UK has gone broadcasting bonkers for Cornwall content. It seems the pandemic has got us all sentimental over the joys of the West Country coastline, and so we are lapping up sunny shots of beaches, clifftop climbs and sips of cider. But this one has chucked romanticism overboard, and definitely isn’t trying to sell you a holiday. Unless of course, you quite fancy a week away on a fishing trawler…

This Fishing Life is back for a second series which begins in Newquay, the county’s most popular destination. When Covid-19 struck in early 2020, the local tourism industry was essentially wiped out, leaving local business owners – and their fishing nets – hung out to dry. With this considered, you may well prepare yourself for an hour of doom and gloom… but there’s none of that with these feisty fishermen.

Like a lot of us, they’ve innovated. Buck’s son Freddie is elated school’s off, meaning he can spend time on-board with his dad. And they’re selling their catch directly to locals who have used their time to get handy in the kitchen. But don’t feel too sorry for the restauranteurs either, as restaurant owner Roger has turned his eatery into a pop-up courtyard, and locals are going mad for it.

And these stories of success amidst chaos keep coming, in this fascinating and honest portrait of Cornish life.

The Telegraph’s Anita Singh calls this a “proper documentary,” which “shows how tough it can be to make a living from fishing – days spent at sea with only worthless spider crabs to show for it – and how exhilarating when things go well.” Carol Midgley in The Times agrees that his was an enlightening watch, saying that despite the fact it “may have made home-schooling parents green with envy… It was mostly a sobering reminder of how very many people struggled to earn during lockdown.”

And, in an article slating the tirade of idealised Cornwall docs, The Telegraph’s Tanya Gold said of This Fishing Life: “If you are curious about Cornwall, watch it: all the magic and heartbreak of the duchy is there, because it was serious journalism with a yearning for detail and no fear of silence.”

First shown January 2020.

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