With everyone het up about Horsegate, there’s a danger Hugh’s Fish Fight (9pm, C4, 14 February) will be too much for consumers to take on board - and have them running, screaming, from the fish finger aisles.
But equally it could harness the public’s growing unease about where their food comes from and galvanise support for his campaign to increase the number of marine protected areas globally. Let’s hope so, because spurred on by the success of his discards campaign (just don’t mention Mac Baps), Hugh put forward such a compelling case I fear I’m going to have to consign my old moniker of Huge Furry Wittering-Balls to the bin This was powerful stuff.
Seeing the seabed swept so clean by medieval-looking scallop dredges - “like a motorway going straight across the sand” - was shocking, as was the revelation that just 0.001% of our UK seas are protected. And the problem is more acute elsewhere. In the Philippines, whole areas of seabed have been destroyed by blast fishing - using home-made dynamite.
The invisibility of the problem makes it difficult to address - cue the recreation of a seabed on the beach at Weston-super-Mare and its destruction in front of an initially sceptical but soon appalled public. Yet, Fearnley-Whittingstall argued, we’re not talking about world peace here. It’s a solvable problem - and the solution is marine reserves.
If he receives the sort of support he got for the discards ban, the government will have to act. And then what? Hugh’s Meat Fight, perhaps?