Hello and welcome to another Vintage Media Millennial blog post. In this edition, I’d like to discuss my first impressions of Jack Hargreaves’ Out of Town, which has just started a rare repeat run on Talking Pictures TV.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see the show back on television. The show last had an episode or two repeated about 30 years ago in the Meridian region. Sadly I missed out on this. A chance to experience this prime piece of Southern Television history was too good to pass up.
And so I sat there Monday night eating tea with my wife and child, we waited for Jack with much anticipation. From the moment the music started, we were transported to a different place. Over the next 30 minutes, we quickly got the measure of Jack’s style.
This elderly man holding a pipe instantly holds your attention. He speaks with a seemingly monotone voice that deviates enough to emphasise his points. His delivery is slow but measured, and impeccably timed to the recorded footage. He often appears to deviate between immediate and reflective language,
The first half of this 1980 episode focused on Jack’s attempt at coarse fishing. Informational, enlightening and observational with enough light humour to keep your attention. The cinematography in this section focused on the subject while subtly deviating in a natural way.
The second half had a different feel. Jack told a story that required further explanation. He drew diagrams on a chalk board, and explained his point with authority. Never did I think I would witness a mule receiving a vocal chord operation. At first I was startled by the idea of this. The camera showed the procedure close up, while Jack lightly sprinkled extra details. The steps were outlined, and the expertise of the vet was validated
He finished this particular segment by stating that the vet had honed the procedure we’d just seen during world war II, which had helped save lives. The gentleman in question had died, and Jack thought it appropriate to pay tribute to him and his accomplishments. I can’t tell you how weird yet moving it felt to watch a 40 year old program hypothesising about what will be included in history books. Jack clearly respected the skills of others, and made sure they were recorded. I’m grateful for his wisdom, I certainly learned something from him
In an age where the concept of slow TV is made a big deal of, it appears Jack helped begin the innovation. Like a ramble through the countryside and a stroll across a working farm, it immerses you gently in its world. Jack’s knack for imparting knowledge in an engaging way is timeless despite any visual or cultural differences. The shed is a starting point to engage, before his commentary over nicely shot footage whisks you away. Out of Town with Jack Hargreaves is broadcast each Monday at 6:30pm.