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Encyclopedia > Jack Hargreaves

Jack Hargreaves OBE (born 31 December 1911, died 15 March 1994) was an author and television presenter in the UK. His interest was with nature and agricultural practices, especially those used in the southern counties. He conceived and presented ‘How!’ - a live children’s programme about how things worked, shown from 1966 on Southern Television and networked on ITV until the demise of Southern in 1981, but he is probably best known as the gentle-voiced presenter of the weekly magazine programme Out of Town, first broadcast in 1963, following the success of his 1959 television debut with the B & W series Gone Fishing. His country TV programmes continued in the 1980s with Old Country. Most of his viewers were probably unaware that he was a player in the setting up of ITV, and a member of Southern's board of directors. Image File history File linksMetadata JackOoT.jpg Summary Studio photo of Jack Hargreaves on which I hold the copyright. ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... An author is the person who creates a written work, such as a book, story, article or the like. ... Originally, in continental Europe, a county was the land under the jurisdiction of a count. ... Southern Television colour logo, 1969-1981 Southern Television was one of the original ITV companies, serving the south-central and south-east of England from August 30, 1958 until 12:45 AM on January 1, 1982. ... Current ITV logo. ...


Early career

Born in 1911 to James and Ada Hargreaves (née Jubb), Jack (christened John Herbert) was one of three brothers. While Edward and Ronald Hargreaves pursued successful careers in medicine, Jack went to study at the Royal Veterinary College at London University in 1929, but left the University to earn a living as a copywriter, journalist and script writer for radio and films. By the late thirties he had established a reputation for his pioneering approaches to radio broadcasting.

Major Hargreaves
Major Hargreaves

At the start of World War 2 broadcasting was recognised as part of the war effort. Hargreaves' talents in this field meant he faced being recruited to a restricted post in radio. Instead he joined the Royal Artillery as a private, quickly became an NCO, entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment. Even so Hargreaves' reputation as a communicator went ahead of him. He was recruited to the staff of General Montgomery to play a role setting up broadcasting services to allied forces before and after D-Day. He left the army in 1945 with substantive rank of major, having briefly held acting rank of lieutenant-colonel. Image File history File links Jack44. ... Image File history File links Jack44. ... The Royal Regiment of Artillery, generally known as the Royal Artillery (RA), is, despite its name, a corps of the British Army It is made up of a number of regiments. ... The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (commonly known as Sandhurst) is the British Army officer initial training centre. ... The Royal Tank Regiment is a unit of the British Army (formerly the Tank Corps and Royal Tank Corps). ...

After the war Hargreaves had continued his media career and during the 1950s was editor of Lilliput (magazine) and Picture Post. His brilliance as a communications manager led to him being recruited to the National Farmers Union UK by Jim Turner, later Lord Netherthorpe, celebrated for his success as a lobbyist for farmers. Working closely with Turner, Hargreaves organised and developed the NFU's Information Department, founding the "British Farmer" magazine during an almost intractable crisis of trust between NFU HQ and the members of the largest union in the country, many of whom were experiencing seismic change in the agricultural economy. Lilliput was the name of a small-format British magazine of humour, short stories and the arts, founded in 1937 by the photojournalist Stefan Lorant; the first issue came out in July. ... Picture Post, a magazine that pioneered photojournalism, was first published in the United Kingdom in 1938. ...

Hargreaves, though never a narrow specialist, had always loved fishing - doing it, learning more from respected experts and reading what others wrote about it. His first contribution to angling literature, 'Fishing for a Year', was published in 1951 and illustrated by his friend Bernard Venables. These private pleasures were brought to his work. His writing and his contacts among anglers saw the president of The Piscatorial Society, Sir Robert Saundby, asking Hargreaves to organise the Society's library. With typical thoroughness the collection was removed to Jack's home, leaving it fully catalogued with not a volume unread. This was when he became sceptical about the opinion of the immortal 17th century author of 'The Compleat Angler', Izaak Walton, as to the culinary qualities of the chub - a dish Hargreaves described as "eating cotton wool full of pins and needles". Izaak Walton (August 9, 1593 - December 15, 1683) was an English writer, author of The Compleat Angler. ... Chub is a type of minnow (Cyprinidae). ...

Southern Television

Jack, Simon & Pewter in 1953

In 1959, by now well-known in the trade as a creative media innovator, Hargreaves was head-hunted to the new ITV franchised company, Southern Television, both as programme maker and assistant programme controller. He might have been promoted but Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) regulations prohibited being in charge of programming while also making programmes. It was at Southern, in the same year he joined the station, that Hargreaves made his screen debut with the B & W series "Gone Fishing". He recounted how on his first broadcast, sitting in the studio, apprehensive at the thought of being about to talk live to a potential audience of millions, his director had reminded him that though that audience might be statistically daunting, it was more likely to be two or three people and perhaps a dog sitting in their front room. He aimed at conversing with such an audience for the rest of his career. Image File history File linksMetadata JackSimon&Pewter. ... Image File history File linksMetadata JackSimon&Pewter. ... Southern Television colour logo, 1969-1981 Southern Television was one of the original ITV companies, serving the south-central and south-east of England from August 30, 1958 until 12:45 AM on January 1, 1982. ... The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) was the regulatory body in the United Kingdom for commercial television (ITV and Channel 4 - cable and satellite television were the responsibility of the Cable Authority) and radio broadcasts. ...

In the early 1960s Hargreaves, fascinated with a still young medium and perceiving how completely different television - especially "live" television - was from cinema, collaborated in a new documentary series under the 'Out of Town' umbrella. Hargreaves had moved from his country home in Bagnor near Newbury to a new home near Lymington on the Solent and one of his earliest programmes for 'Out of Town' documented the invention, design and construction, by his friend Denys Rayner, of a family yacht - the Westerly Corvette - which evolved into the Westerly 22 and became among the first of a new family of small affordable sailing boats capable of being trailed behind a family saloon, easily launched and used for weekending as well as ocean voyaging. Jack and his last wife Isobel, who he married in 1964, took one of these - 'Young Tiger' (named after another of his TV series) - through the Canal du Midi between Bordeaux and Sète in 1965, completing one leg of a transatlantic voyage continued by his step-son, Simon. Satellite image showing the Solent, separating the Isle of Wight from mainland Britain The Solent is a stretch of sea separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of Great Britain. ... Denys Rayner in 1943 Denys Arthur Rayner DSC and Bar, VRD, RNVR, (1908-1967) was a naval hero - a term with which he would, like so many soldiers, have been uncomfortable. ... Canal du Midi, Toulouse The Canal du Midi is a 240km long canal in southern France, le midi, linking the Garonne River to the Mediterranean Sea, between Toulouse and the Mediterranean port of Sète, which was created for the canal. ...

Stan Bréhaut
Stan Bréhaut

The programme "Out of Town" was broadcast between 1963 and 1981. Jack Hargreaves became a household name in the parts of England covered by Southern Television. When STV lost their franchise, Hargreaves continued his TV career on Channel 4, also continuing, in prose, the deceptively simple narrative style that had worked well "on the box". Hargreaves' most extended filming relationship was with Stan Bréhaut, the cameraman who worked closely with him for over 20 years on over a thousand shoots. He described Bréhaut, who died peacefully in December 2005, as "the finest outdoor cameraman in England". Enjoyed for the relaxed style of his "countryside" broadcasting, Hargreaves, with Stan's help, used a sure grasp of how television worked best to spread cogent messages about the loss of men's connection with the land. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (948x915, 371 KB) Summary Photo by Jack of his cameraman Stan. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (948x915, 371 KB) Summary Photo by Jack of his cameraman Stan. ... Southern Television colour logo, 1969-1981 Southern Television was one of the original ITV companies, serving the south-central and south-east of England from August 30, 1958 until 12:45 AM on January 1, 1982. ... Channel 4 is a public service television broadcaster in the United Kingdom (see British television). ...

The Nugent Report

As an independent member of the Defence Lands Committee 1971-73, Hargreaves made key contributions to the Nugent Report 1973 [1] reviewing the use of land held by the country's armed forces for defence purposes. He became even more aware that one of the best ways to protect the countryside was to keep most people out of it. Military exercises seemed less harmful in their impact on the environment than its use for the recreational choices of a largely urban population. This was a conundrum he was wont to share wryly with his audience.

Published work

A number of the films Hargreaves and Bréhaut made together for the 'Out of Town' series exist as videos and DVDs published by Contender. This material is not the same as the originally broadcast versions of 'Out of Town'. Southern Television was no more, so Hargreaves, now retired and having bought the original 'Out of Town' tapes started working with Steve Wade, also retired, and with whom he had worked on 'How'. Based in the village hall at Meonstoke, Hampshire, Hargreaves and Wade sorted, edited, rehashed and broadcast new versions of "Out of Town" on Channel 4. These comprise:

No. 1 Appleby Fair/Ramming Time, New Forest Point to Point/Apple Grafting and Kingfishers/Model Carts

No. 2 Sheep Shearing/Sea Bream, Sweetheart Story/Tyring a Cart and Farm Sale/Fishing in a Gale/Forest Fire

No. 3 Market Day/Minnow Trap/Lobster Boat, Iron Ponds/Lobster Breeding and Romney Marsh/Pumpkins

No. 4 Lambing/Mayfly, Mole Catcher/High School Horse and Rake Maker/Stage Coach

No. 5 Bee-Skips/Pheasant Shooting, Tidal Mill/Ice Fishing and Fly Casting/The Log Splitter

No. 6 The Hidden Stream/Deer Shoot, The Shooting Master and British Finches/Yerro’s Operation

No. 7 Stour River, Hacienda/Bullfight and House Building/Trout and Grayling

No. 8 Freeze Branding/Cider Making, Trammel Nets/The Coach Builder and Big Skate/Pannage

No. 9 Cod Fishing/Centenarian Angler, Charcoal Burners/Pigeon Shooting and Long Distance Ride.

Hargreaves also authored a number of audio-tapes and long play records on his favourite subjects. His books include 'Out of Town: A Life Relived on Television', Dovecote Press 1987, 'The Old Country' Dovecote Press 1988, 'The New Forest: A Portrait in Colour' with Terry Heathcote, Dovecote Press 1992, and his first book, illustrated by his friend Bernard Venables, 'Fishing for a year' MacGibbon & Kee 1951, republished Medlar Press 1998. Bucklers Hard on the Beaulieu River For other uses, see New Forest (disambiguation). ...

Forthcoming biography

In mid-2006 a biography, 'Jack Hargreaves A Portrait', written by the author Paul Peacock, is published by Farming Books and Videos.


  • Steve Hardy's website for people who enjoyed Jack Hargreaves' programmes

  Results from FactBites:
Jack Hargreaves at AllExperts (1772 words)
Jack Hargreaves OBE (born 31 December 1911, died 15 March 1994) was an author and television presenter in the UK.
Hargreaves was to live at a variety of addresses in central London between Soho, Chelsea and Hampstead.
Jack Hargreaves was married, in 1932, to Jeanette Haighler.
  More results at FactBites »



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