I’ve just seen an early version of the new Mr Crabtree book, to tie in with the television series that starts in January. Fishing in the Footsteps of Mr Crabtree does not seek to slavishly copy Bernard Venables’ original work, Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing, but it follows a siimlar format with text and strip cartoons. It includes several illustrations from the Venables work, but illustrator Rob Olsen has kept the style without trying to copy Peter and Mr Crabtree. John Bailey plays the Crabtree role in the new films and it’s him, rather than a pipe-smoking trilby-topped gentleman, who is teaching young people to fish. The methods, too, have been updated. None of that “learn to use a centrepin first before you progress to a fixed spool”; while pike are netted, not gaffed as in the original text. “(Bernard once said to me: “Don’t they gaff pike any more?”). I haven’t read the text; just glanced through the book, which is now hardback with a dust-jacket, but thought readers would like a heads-up on what it is like. I’ll tell you more when I’ve read it carefully. My first impression is that it looks to be an excellent tie-in with the series, and I expect that it will sell very well. Furthermore, I believe that it will generate a great deal of interest in angling from those under 16. A second series has already been commissioned, and though it can never hope to replicate the success of Venables original (which, which sales of more than 2 million, is still the best-selling sports book of all time), I expect it will still prove very popular. If you want a copy of the book, order it here.