Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Old Jack's Boat

Since mentioning my holiday last week I've been overwhelmed by at least three expressions of mild interest in the holiday snaps, so here they are.

We went to Staithes. Lovely place. I've been there before. (Jen 'Mum in the Madhouse's mum was born there would you believe? Small world...)

Anyway, it's famous now as the location for this lovely CBeebies series...

As something of a reactionary when it comes to children's telly I've surprised myself by falling in love with this charming, beguiling and utterly captivating programme. I notice it's pedigree: created by the two of the channel's royalty in Chris Jarvis (no introduction necessary) and Pui Fan Lee (incidentally, did you know that Pui was once a Tellytubby?) and written (at least two episodes) by Russell T 'Doctor Who' Davies.

For those who don't know, Old Jack's Boat stars Bernard Cribbins as the eponymous Jack, whose old boat - The Rainbow - is the setting (both physically and creatively) for a series of tall tales of past voyages and adventures on the high seas. Unfortunately The Rainbow ('what 'ave you got for us today old girl?') wasn't at berth in the harbour when we visited (grown-ups: yes I know it's only an animation) so here's a picture Charlie drew of it instead:

The pretty little North Yorkshire fishing village of Staithes, just north of Whitby (you've heard of Whitby - Dracula, a seventh-century Synod and some of the finest fish-n-chips you'l ever taste) is the setting for the series and is peopled by a cast of colourful characters who add an entertaining sub-plot to each story. Emily sells ice-cream; Shelly (played by former Doctor Who girl Freema Agyeman) runs the cafe and Ernie (real-life owner of Scuzz who play's 'Salty', Jack's dog) is the local fisherman.

As far as I know Staithes really is peopled by such wonderful characters. The people we met were certainly friendly. But then, they always are in Yorkshire. They didn't even mind Charlie sitting on the bench in front of Old Jack's cottage (which you can hire as a holiday let, you know):

We had a lovely time looking round because Staithes is such a lovely place. It didn't matter that there wasn't much of 'Old Jack's Boat' to see because part of the programme's magic comes from this special little location tucked away in the cliffs between Redcar and Whitby.

'Well' as Jack says, 'that's it for today. But we'll see all our friends again next time, won't we Salty? And we'll see you again too. Goodbye!'

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