Some essential viewing: the Go-betweens, Channel 4 on Cornish pilot boats

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The Go-Betweens

I’ve raved about Channel 4’s Classic Ships series before – but this episode on the go-betweens – pilot boats and other boats serving the old sailing ships – is even better than anything we’ve seen so far.

Narrated by the lugubrious-voiced John Peel, it includes footage and informative discussion of a personal barge built in 1740 and used by generations of aristocrats; the development of the tosher, including a lot of talk from a retired Fowey pilot; and also a long segment on the Scillonian pilot gig including material from legendary gig builder Ralph Bird.

If you’re in the UK, I’d recommend you watch it at your first opportunity – the adverts are irritating of course but the programme is well worth the wait, and you never know when these TV gems will be taken down. If you’re not in the UK, I’m told you may be able find a proxy server somewhere if you Google around…