TV star Richie reels in copy of fishing film 40 years after it was made

Richard Hill with the disc of himself and TV legend Jack Hargreaves.
Richard Hill with the disc of himself and TV legend Jack Hargreaves.
Alex Wardle, from Lee-on-the-Solent, collapsed at home and tragically died in March 2016, aged 23. 

From left: Alex's father, Stephen Wardle, sister Gemma Wardle, Alex Wardle and his mother, Denise Wardle.

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A FISHERMAN has finally tracked down a copy of a film about himself – almost 40 years after it was made.

In 1973 Richie Hill, from Blendworth Crescent, Leigh Park, starred in an episode of the Out of Town series on what is now Meridian TV.

It came after legendary presenter Jack Hargreaves heard about an exploding bait box that Mr Hill had invented. The late Mr Hargreaves spent the day trying out the wood and spring contraption and caught plenty of fish. But 75-year-old Mr Hill had only ever seen the show when it was originally broadcast. He made it his life’s ambition to find a copy to leave to his children and grandchildren.

He said: ‘I was very shocked to hear that Jack Hargreaves was interested in filming me, I can tell you.

‘We went out on my friend Charles Fox’s boat, The Pauline, in Littlehampton and had a very successful day’s fishing. Afterwards he said “Do you know what? I will never forget this day. It was one of the most pleasant days I’ve had in my career”.

‘He was a lovely character and a great man. When it was broadcast we only had a black and white telly so we had to go to my friend’s house to watch it.

‘Until now that was the only time I’d seen it.’

After hearing about his search, Mr Hill’s neighbour John Peters tracked down the 30-minute film to the South West Films and Television Archive, Plymouth.

But before they could let him have a copy they needed the owner’s permission. After more detective work Mr Peters discovered the footage was owned by university lecturer Simon Baddeley, Mr Hargreaves’ step-son. Mr Baddeley has since spent several afternoons with Mr Hill and his wife Wendy.

Mr Hill said: ‘It was so frustrating for me not being able to find it when I knew it was out there.

‘It was a wonderful moment to see it again. I’ll probably never watch it again but I feel relieved that my family will always have it.’

Mr Hill’s invention made national news at the time when an aide to King Hussein of Jordan asked for a bait box for him.

But, as a conservationist, the King refused the gift – mistakenly believing it used gunpowder and would damage the sea bed.

Despite attempts the bait box was never mass produced but Mr Hill still uses it.